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Homes fighting to fit in

DESIGN will be a key issue in the success or failure of the State Government’s proposal to build public housing in the western suburbs.

In the past week, Housing Minister Tom Stephens has come under fire from western suburb councils over his invitation for them to become involved in Homeswest joint ventures.

Amid the debate, concerns have been raised that more public housing could have a negative effect on the values of existing properties.

Hegney Property Valuations managing director Gavin Hegney said the introduction of Homeswest housing into the western suburbs could have an impact on property values.

“The western suburbs thrive on status value ... moving public housing into these suburbs will have a downward effect on property values,” Mr Hegney said.

“It could have no effect, if the housing was well-designed, well maintained and was not seen as public housing. Or it could have the effect of marginally decreasing the values of nearby properties in the order of 10 per cent.”

However, Real Estate Institute of WA public affairs director Lino Iacomella did not support this view.

“There is no evidence to suggest that public housing has an impact on the property values of a suburb,” Mr Iacomella said.

“Homeswest housing has been incorporated into a number of suburbs and there does not appear to be an impact.”

Homeswest director general Greg Joyce noted Homeswest projects had won several awards in recent years and said the organisation would continue to blend public housing through all suburbs.

“In all of our new developments we look to have no more than one (public housing units) in nine (residence). Building Homes-west houses en masse is no longer acceptable,” Mr Joyce said.

He said Homeswest designs took into account those of the local area and tried to complement them.

The organisation’s primary objective was to ensure its housing was not easily identifiable.

“Our goal for public housing is to merge it within the general community. My role will be complete when people think public housing no longer exists,” Mr Joyce said.

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