With Australia’s housing market struggling to get its feet wet, it’s not hard to see why some are looking for ways to help boost home-buying activity.
“A lot of the solutions to that problem have been in the works for quite some time,” says Matt Dyer, the chief executive of Adelaide-based home-rebuilding company HomeTrip, which has launched an app called Connected Homes for the city.
“We think there’s a lot of people who are interested in getting connected and have an interest in having a home in the first place, and the technology will hopefully be able to help with that.”
HomeTrap, which was founded in 2012, has received funding from the City of Adelaide, the Australian Government and other private donors.
The app is designed to give users the ability to create their own homes and offer them a range of features such as a shared kitchen, shared laundry, shared living room, and a shared bedroom.
The apps developers say there are currently around 200 million Australians who want to build their own home, with a total number of 1.2 billion homes in Australia alone.
HomeTrop has been offering a suite of services for the last few years, including a home management tool, home-repair services, and even a range in-house catering and entertainment services.
“For some people, the home-improvement aspect of home-rental is something they really want to do, and for some, the accommodation aspect is really important,” Dyer says.
“There’s a big appetite for these types of solutions.”
The app has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times and will be available to download on iOS and Android starting next month.
In the past, HomeTratets developers have been keen to stress that the app is not intended to be used as a substitute for renting a property, but as an alternative.
“HomeTrip is an app designed to enable people to have their own ownership of their own property,” Dyrker says.
While the apps focus on providing users with a variety of options, the app also aims to provide users with an opportunity to explore other types of homes, such as shared kitchens, shared bathrooms, and shared bedrooms.
“Our app is aimed at giving people the opportunity to choose what kind of homes they want to buy, and to actually have a home experience, and also provide access to other opportunities to make money on a short term basis,” he says.
It’s not just the apps that can help increase home-owning activity, though.
In a recent survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than half of respondents had previously considered moving from their current home to a more affordable home.
“So for some people that may be looking to move to a home with lower-income residents, that may mean they may want to take a look at home-sales and home-renovation services to see what opportunities they might find,” says Dyer.
“The way you can encourage more home-owners to move into a neighbourhood is through making sure that there’s affordable housing available to the community, and not just those who are in the middle class.”
A number of other cities are also exploring ways to encourage home-buyers to buy homes with more equity.
Last month, Melbourne City Council unveiled a scheme called the HomeShare scheme, which will give homeowners a guaranteed 50 per cent equity in their new homes.
Melbourne’s scheme will also allow homeowners to use the app to make the purchase.
“You will be able use the HomeTip app to look at your home and decide whether or not it is the best place to buy,” says Mayor Graham Quirk.
“It will help you make an informed decision and be able make the best decision possible for your family.”
HomeShare is a pilot scheme, but the council hopes to expand it to include other cities in the coming months.