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Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Halal housing estate for Sydney Muslims

Rouse Hill Shopping Centre, train to the city promised

Qartaba Homes director Khurram Jawaid said it's the real estate deal of a lifetime open to all Australians of all faiths and backgrounds.  Blocks of land will be on offer with an interest-free agreement, so no "riba" will apply, considered a sin under Islamic law.

The brochure promises a "100 per cent Halal housing solution to the growing Muslim community of Australia. Our philosophy is interest free, pay as you own, you don't have to go to a bank or a financial institution."

Riverstone, already on the train line

For those unfamiliar with Sydney, the proposed development is 52 kilometres from the city. On one side of the highway, Riverstone is an older, somewhat run-down working-class suburb and belongs to Blacktown Council.

On the other side of the highway is Rouse Hill, which has a new shopping centre and established new housing estates for the upwardly mobile, often referred to as McMansions, and comes under the jurisdiction of The Hills Shire Council, known as "Sydney's Garden Shire."

Rouse Hill property for sale

Subdivision plans have not yet been received by Blacktown Council but the company has "booked out" virtually all the proposed 150 lots in Riverstone and 30 in Schofields, an adjoining suburb.

"We were faced with a choice" Mr Jawaid said, "to keep the land as it is for another four years or sell now, the land value will double in the next four years."  So what's on offer?

  • 145 lots from $85,000 plus charges
  • Land from 400-800 sqm
  • 24-30 months interest free payment plan
  • Booking deposit of  30-35 per cent with balance in monthly installments.

Mr Jawaid said the deal was available to everyone, regardless of faith or ethnic background and Muslim interest was "not that overwhelming." He added "We don't want this development to be for just one community, it is for all Australians, it shouldn't benefit one people" he said.

A no-interest loan is something we have never heard of before and is certainly very attractive and what Mr Jawaid says is probably true - as an investment, the land is likely to double in value in a few years.  So what do the locals think about it?

Proposed site

There seems to be some local resentment regarding the Muslim Cemetery which is on one-acre of land within the Riverstone Cemetery, although it's unclear what the problem is.  It's the only burial ground available to Muslims in the inner and North West of Sydney.

One Riverstone business owner who didn't want to be named said while she was all for the community expanding, she didn't believe "that their community wants to be part of our community."  Another said they were welcome to the land because it was flood prone.

It's now up to Blacktown Council to decide.