DomaCom launches first crowdfunded lifestyle community

From

Arthur Naoumidis

DomaCom has signed an Agreement with Akuna Lifestyle Estates to launch the first crowdfunded resort-style residential community land development in regional Victoria.

The Project, which is planned to be developed and sold in 8 Stages over three to four years starting this year, is the brainchild of the Melbourne-based Akuna group that has developed a community housing model it believes will better suit the needs of many baby boomers moving into retirement.

Akuna founding director Graeme Jacobs says the Akuna Residential Land Lease Community (RLLC) model is a more affordable and transparent option than the conventional retirement village model.

“Under our scheme there are no exit fees, with any future house sale only subject to the normal residential sales commission fee of 2.5%; there are no refurbishment fees or other costs imposed on the residents with residents getting all the proceeds from the sale of their houses. Residents only pay a weekly rental fee that covers all the maintenance of the community’s common areas and full use of the clubhouse, bowling green, swimming pool & gym, as well as council rates, sewerage and water rates.”

DomaCom will use it’s fractional property investment platform to offer an attractive yield to investors for acquisition and development of the land. A $6m capital raising comprising $1.65m to acquire the land and $4.35m for development planning, approvals and construction of the civil works and common facilities including a clubhouse, sports centre, pool and bowling green.

Approximately $1.4m has already been raised for the land acquisition.

“This Cobram housing community will give investors the opportunity to secure high yielding returns from the development profit and land-rental activities in an exciting project that will deliver a real social objective – giving retirees affordable housing.”

Jacobs says the target market is those aged over 55 with a focus on retirees who have low superannuation balances and who qualify for Government Rental Assistance on the land lease. “This target market is growing at 30 per cent per year, with a third of Australians estimated to be over 55 within a generation.

“What is often forgotten is that many Australians are retiring with low superannuation balances, with the equity in their current home being their largest asset. Under our proposal, Akuna will develop the land and then sell the homes with 49-year leases at an average price of $265,000 per house. Residents will pay, on average, a gross rent of $175 a week, and typically many will qualify for Federal Government Rental Assistance of up to $65 per week.”

Cobram has been chosen for Akuna’s first project because of its proximity to major hospitals, health and community centres, major retailers, and recreational facilities.

Other towns in Akuna’s sights for similar Projects are Yarrawonga, about 35 kilometres east of Cobram on the Murray River and Paynesville in the Gippsland Lakes region, 16 kilometres south of Bairnsdale and other popular holiday destinations.

In yet another first for DomaCom, CEO Arthur Naoumidis said, “This project signals the start of our potential to provide a funding model for affordable housing across Australia whilst giving investors new investment opportunities with good yields and capital growth in socially responsible projects. Projects with a social conscious are important to many investors. Crowdfunding enables this to happen across a number of investments with only a small asset allocation to each so investors can feel good about their investment without going over the top.”

”It is ideally suited to our fractional investment model as it allows for a multiplicity of investors from private and public sources for as little as $2,500”.

DomaCom is targeting a 15% annualised return on the completed project with an estimated ongoing rental income of 8% pa.

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