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Locked out of the property market for too long? Tired of being repeatedly beaten at auctions where an unrenovated dump in Dulwich Hill recently sold for $1.4 million?

Here’s an innovative way of getting a foothold on Sydney’s overheated residential market – get like minded couples to share the mortgage.

The brainchild of Leichhardt couple Ben and Natalie Williams, it’s called co-housing where they pool funds and resources with other couples to buy a big house and split it into three or four apartments with a shared backyard and shared laundry.

The Williams knew they had to be “creative” and think outside the box if they wanted to escape the rent trap. So they posted the idea of co-housing on the Inner West Mums Facebook page recently and it took off. About 80 interested parties joined overnight according, to The Sunday Telegraph.

“It is for anyone re-evaluating single-family detached living and re-imagining creative ways to get free from the kind of massive mortgages that current home ownership seem to demand,’’ Mrs Williams said.

“We pool our resources and figure out the legalities, whether we become shareholders or strata title. I mean $1 million can’t even buy you a three-bedroom apartment these days,’’ added the 38-year-old Mrs Williams.

A friend of the Williamses, Trevor Thomas also went down a similar path of pooling resources with other couples to get a foothold in Sydney’s property market. He bought a four-unit art deco block in Petersham in 1997 for $750,000 with two other couples.

“We all moved in and rented the fourth one out. Then one of the couples wanted to sell, so the two of us bought them out and rented it for 10 years.

“Now we’ve turned the four into two two-storey duplex apartments with shared facilities in the backyard,” said Mr Thomas.

A similar concept for co-operative living is currently under trial for a group of elderly people living in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Balmain. The AGEncy Project is a community of elderly people who want to live together but “independently’’ in their own homes, villas, townhouses or apartments. They want to grow old in the community they know and love. So they share gardens, a beehive, playground equipment, art studio space, sport facilities and even meals. Members are aged from 40 to 60 years of age.

So it looks like co-housing has been tried and tested. And it works.