Why Emma and Will entered a ballot to buy their first home

Words by realestate.com.au
April 15, 2019


When Will Anderson and Emma Sawrey began the search for an attainable home in inner Melbourne, an opportunity arose to side-step the competitive property market by entering a ballot to live in a community-focused development.

Since moving out of home about seven years ago, Will has rented a few properties with his partner, Emma. Currently sharing a one-bedroom apartment in Fitzroy, they’ve been keen to buy a place of their own, but Melbourne’s competitive and pricey property market posed a daunting prospect about how and when to begin the process.

Will is an Architect at Fieldwork – a Collingwood-based architecture firm, and Emma is an Area Manager for a wine distribution company in Melbourne’s West. To avoid lengthy commutes, they wanted to remain within close proximity to the CBD, but this made their dreams of home ownership even more unattainable.

Fieldwork has a solid reputation for its residential work but unfortunately none of their previous projects had been within reach for Will and Emma. Will’s attention was drawn to the latest project with Assemble – a property development and community management company that puts homeowners first.

The 73-apartment project at 393 Macaulay Road was being offered to prospective residents as part of the Assemble Model, an ownership model that bridges the gap between renting and owning your home.

Artist’s impression of the living room at 393 Macaulay Road.

At the heart of this model is providing housing affordability and rental stability and a more accessible pathway to home ownership. Residents get the right to a five-year lease with known rents set at a market rate. They also sign for the right – but not the obligation – to buy the apartment for a pre-agreed price at the end of the lease. But after the first 12 months, residents can walk away from the arrangement if their circumstances change.

“The Assemble Model is perfect for us now because it offers you an opportunity to rent before you exercise the option to buy, so you can get to know the development, your neighbours and the area – and ensure it feels like home. At the end of the term you can opt to buy without the worry of having to compete with the market at auction,” says Will.

Will and Emma can get to know their neighbours and the area before they buy.

“The rent is reasonable, and there’s flexibility. So, if our circumstances change, we can sublet our apartment for up to 2 years, exit the lease or decide not to buy at any stage.”

The project attracted many hopeful residents and a ballot system was used to fairly select the successful applicants. In November, Will and Emma found out they were allocated a two-bedroom, north-facing apartment with plenty of natural light and a flexible open-plan design. They will also have a private north-facing terrace and a communal terrace on the south side of the property. The pair will move into their new home in early 2021.

Artist’s impression of a communal room at 393 Macaulay Road, Kensington.

The thoughtful design of the apartments and overall development was also a drawcard for Will and Emma. The project houses a minimum of 30-kilowatt solar system, a 25,000 litre rainwater tank and a 7-star NatHERs rating – a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes.

The apartments have been designed to improve with age and with durability and functionality front of mind. The focus on flexible, welcoming communal spaces is also a point of difference, with areas available for communal dinner parties, yoga sessions or movie nights.

“I like the idea that the development is about bringing people together,” says Will.

The Assemble Model offers a new pathway to home ownership. Picture: Supplied

“Going through the ballot process and having communal events with future residents means we’re already getting to know our neighbours, and the shared amenities of the building will make connecting with other people very easy. Assemble are also proactive in keeping us informed about the progress and construction updates. It’s a level of care in the process that is somewhat lacking in the current marketplace.

“I think this development is going to be a thriving community and we can’t wait to move in.”

Due to such an encouraging response to the project and the Assemble Model, Assemble is currently preparing its next project. To be the first to learn more, register your details here.