VIEWPOINT Huntly Estate is currently just a paddock, serviced by a dirt road.
But the new estate will one day hold about 1600 homes, complete with a road network, parks and nearby train station.
Work on the first stage of the estate started yesterday with an official sod turning. The first 800 homes are expected to be complete within three to four years.
The next 800 homes will be created as the housing market dictates.
One hundred home buyers will be eligible for a $38,800 government grant, which will be drawn by ballot in December.
While no one has signed up for the ballot, the City of Greater Bendigo – one of the partners in the project – expects the 50 to 60 inquiries, along with further web page hits, will result in families entering the ballot.
Federal Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business Brendan O’Connor said the development gave young families a chance to enter the housing market. “It’s a great opportunity for people who might be struggling a little bit to purchase their own home,” he said.
“It provides an opportunity there and it also relieves the housing affordability strain in Bendigo.
“You ask young families today – it’s not easy to buy your first home,” Mr O’Connor said.
“It’s the biggest investment people usually make in their lives and it’s not always easy to save money.”
The government grants can be used as a deposit, and JG King and Metricon will build the 100 homes under the scheme.
Figures from Ethan Affordable Housing, one of the project partners, reveal local housing affordability, availability and accessibility is some of the worst in the state.
The group says 1128 people in Greater Bendigo need public housing, with a 1 per cent rental vacancy rate and 10.5 per cent property price increase for the year to June 2012, making it tough for families.