Giving free land to people

AustraliaA remote Queensland town has offered to provide free land to build a house, in the face of a severe housing shortage.

Quilpie council’s subsidy of USD 12,500 (VND 284 million), enough to buy a 1,000 m2 plot of land, quickly received attention. More than 250 families in Australia, UK, India, Hong Kong and New Zealand sent in their applications within 10 days.

However, the person eligible to receive the land must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (with a green card), build a house with a value of less than 750,000 USD and live continuously for 6 months.

Justin Hancock, 30, Quilpie council president, who spent six months here due to the effects of the housing shortage, came up with the idea.

“If five families agree to move to a town of only 800 people in the next two years, that’s a huge success,” Hancock said on October 20. But the number of subscribers was so large that the authorities were overwhelmed.

Tom Hennessy and fiance Tessa McDougall, are eligible for Quilpie’s $12,500 grant. The couple is preparing to build a house. Photo: Leon O’Neil/Quilpie Shire . Council

The housing shortage comes as Australian land prices skyrocket during the pandemic, driven by record low interest rates and prolonged lockdowns in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Not being able to afford it, many people go to small towns to build houses.

Young families and retirees are considering moving to Quilpie for a variety of reasons. But most of them do not want to be “locked in” and enjoy the open space after the pandemic.

“It would be silly to turn down an offer like that,” said Robina Meehan, who with her husband offered to own a plot of land in the town. She believes that moving is a good opportunity to develop and be happier in life.

Tom Hennessy, 23, and his fiancée, 24, Tessa McDougall also owned a 1,000 square meter plot of land in August this year. While friends and relatives in Brisbane, 1,000 kilometers from Quilpie, are struggling to buy a home and pay off their mortgage.

“I love Quilpie. It’s a great place,” Hennessy said.

In October, the Australian Regional Institute released a study on the housing crisis in western Queensland. Economist Kim Houghton, a co-author of the study, said “giving away free land in Quilpie” is what local governments should do to encourage development in the area.

Houghton called what was happening in Quilpie “really interesting”. It’s a pretty creative solution and starts to do something to disrupt the stagnating market.

Minh Phuong (According to AP, Guardian)


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