As part of its commitment to the communities it develops, Villawood Properties has set up a Care Worker Support Program offering $20,000 rebates to frontline workers including nurses, paramedics, teachers, emergency services and personal carers wishing to purchase in its master planned developments.
Research shows care workers are often less likely to be able to afford a home of their own due to lower wages and salaries.
Since the rebate scheme was introduced, Villawood has helped more than 150 care workers on the path to homeownership, the latest being Adelaide mental health nurse Tabitha Maiyo. Here’s what she had to say after successfully buying a block at Villawood’s latest South Australian community, Oakden Rise.
Name: Tabitha Maiyo
Purchased: September 2022
Occupation: Mental health nurse with NALHN (Northern Adelaide Local Health Network)
Tell me about your pathway to home ownership?
At the moment, I'm renting in Mawson Lakes. I really started looking seriously last year. I was hoping to start earlier but then COVID happened, and everything went to standstill. But this gave me a chance to continue saving up on my deposit. And then last year was when I thought I'll get a bit serious.
A friend told me about a mortgage broker, and they gave me all these options because I was not sure whether I wanted to build or whether I wanted to buy an established property.
Then I went and looked around up north, but my heart was not happy with that side. Coming closer to the city was more expensive though, so I was not sure what exactly to do. Then one day at work one of my friends told me ‘there is this land that's being released, do you want to give it a go?’ I thought I'll just put in my interest. And then there was a rebate that they were saying if you're a care worker, you would get a discount. This is an area that I've always loved since moving to Australia seven years ago, so I thought I'll give it a go and I got it.
Where were you living seven years ago?
I relocated from Kenya. I came here as a student in December 2014 and started my studies in 2015. It was a two-year program because I did the graduate-entry nursing. When I finished it, I got a graduate visa, and worked full time, still supporting my family back home and supporting myself here. Then I got my permanent residency and that’s when I started thinking, ‘ok, what's the next project?’. I had it in the back of my head, that the next thing is to buy a property but then I didn't really have any money, so I had to work extra to save up.
We often hear about home ownership being the great Australian dream. Is that the same in Kenya?
My parents brought us up to be independent and think of developing ourselves. You don't have to have someone. So, I've always grown up having that dream, that one day I'll have my own property. So coming here, it became more of just putting into practice what I wanted to do.
What attracted you to Oakden Rise?
The community feel is the main thing that really attracted me to Villawood, having that community vibe going on and having the environment, the trees. I've seen on the plan the trails with a lot of greenery. It's quite homely, and you feel safe.
And, of course, the community hub - that's where we can all come together and experience the community feel.
Tell me about your house.
I'm looking at having a three-bedroom, two-storey house.
Hopefully as soon as the settlement of the land happens, I can start building straight away. So hopefully by the end of next year/beginning of 2024. I hope with the borders open now, that the materials won’t be an issue, but I'll just be patient. I've been patient enough for the past three years, another one year won't be a big deal.
Will you get a flatmate or a pet when you move into your new house?
Luckily, last year, I was able to sponsor my older sister to come to Australia, so she's come [and will live with me] and I'm also organising for my brother to come and join us. They'll have a footing, so once they've settled, they will be able to bring their families and they can start on their own journey as well.
Are you keen to meet your neighbours?
Yes, I’m looking forward to it. One thing I was really worried about was having to live close to people that I don't know. There are all these scary stories that you hear, but the plus for me for getting this land is that we'll be starting the whole process together. I will be knowing my neighbours and it will be a journey that we will all go on together and enjoy as a community.
Coming from a background where I’ve grown up in communities… grown up in homes where across the road you know your neighbour and your neighbour calls in [to visit], you feel the community vibe. And when you come to a country that is more like ‘everyone to himself’, it's kind of hard. But knowing I’ll have a community here with Villawood, I think is what I need.
How did you find the ballot process?
The ballot process is a really good way to go for such a prime area. I loved the fact that it was transparent. Everything was there at the table for you so either you were getting it, or you were not getting it. I think it's the fairest way of doing it.
After the ballot, they brought me to the land, and it was a dream for me to put that sold poster on my land. I felt proud of myself.
You mentioned that you got a $20,000 rebate from Villawood for being a frontline worker. How helpful has that been in terms of you being able to secure your first home?
It's made me appreciate the fact that I’m a care worker. They value care workers, and it’s boosted me in being able to get a better pre-approval. That extra $20,000 will really help me out in settling things.
What would life look like for you if you hadn't of got this property? Would you have been forced to settled for a house further from the city?
In the north was where I would have been able to buy but then looking at the equity that you get after building [in Oakden Rise], I think there are more pros to building in this area than buying elsewhere.
And as much as others are saying, ‘It's a first home, you have to start somewhere’, at the end of the day I'm a person who, if I want something, I want to go for the place that I want.
It sounds as though you've made the right choice for you.
My heart is content. I'm happy with my decision.