Affordable housing in Geraldton has been boosted with the opening of the renovated Old Police Barracks.
Housing and Works Minister Michelle Roberts today officially opened the Old Police Barracks and residential homes.
Mrs Roberts said the $3.5million redevelopment now provided six, three-bedroom family apartments, and new dwellings built on the site would provide an additional five, two-bedroom homes for seniors and four single-bedroom dwellings.
“These homes are a welcome boost for public housing in Geraldton,” she said.
“The new homes have been designed to complement the existing heritage buildings, particularly the street aspect.”
The former Geraldton Police Barracks building in Lester Avenue has been a prominent local landmark since it was built in 1912. The two-storey brick and iron building is one of the few remaining ‘Federation free style’ buildings in Geraldton.
The Minister said the barracks were a place of residence for many members of the Western Australia Police and their families from 1912 to 1999.
The redevelopment was designed by Geraldton architects Eastman, Poletti and Sherwood, with construction works undertaken by local builder P S Chester.
Mrs Roberts said the barracks was one of several affordable housing initiatives the State Government was undertaking in Geraldton.
Since July 2001, more than 785 families in Geraldton have realised their dream of homeownership, thanks to the State Government’s Keystart Scheme.
“In a region of high property values, Keystart’s low deposit home loans continue to assist people to enter the local housing market,” the Minister said.
“Since 2001, Keystart has effectively injected $78.2million into Geraldton’s economy and housing market.
“Keystart loans require a deposit of only $2,000 or two per cent and no mortgage insurance, saving homebuyers thousands of dollars.
“The First Home Owners’ Grant can also be used to cover the deposit and any loan fees.”
Keystart’s interest rate is currently 8.99 per cent per annum, which is below that of most lenders.
Geraldton MLA Shane Hill said the State Government’s highly popular First Start shared equity scheme was now also giving Geraldton families another option into the housing market.
“Since its launch, 13 local families have purchased their first home through the First Start scheme, with this figure expected to rise in the coming months,” Mr Hill said.
“Under the scheme, the Housing Authority will purchase up to 40 per cent equity in the home with the family purchasing a minimum 60 per cent.”
Mr Hill said the scheme’s current maximum property price limit had also provided an opportunity for the housing industry to produce affordable and well-designed house and land packages for $375,000 or less.
“The State Government, through its Seacrest Estate Joint Venture within the City of Geraldton-Greenough, is an excellent example of this in action,” he said.
“Since its launch, Seacrest has yielded 825 lots, of which 671 have already been sold and will produce 1,150 lots by its completion in 2011-12.
“Nine affordable lots from stages 11 and 12 will be tailored to First Start clients.”
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