Super fund’s $240m build-to-rent pledge
A major superannuation fund has backed the build-to-rent sector with $240 million, benefiting some of the country’s lowest-paid workers, ahead of meeting to discuss the housing crisis.
HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said the fund’s founding investment in Super Housing Partnerships’ pipeline of build-to-rent homes, aimed to generate stable, long-term returns for members while bolstered an emerging investment sector.
SHP’s focus is on a mix of affordable, social, market rate and specialist disability accommodation in Victoria.
“We have the opportunity to innovate and invest to meet an unmet need, providing our members with appropriate risk-adjusted investment returns by improving housing supply,” Ms Blakey said.
The initial development will include about 1600 mixed-tenure dwellings.
HESTA is the industry super fund for health workers, many of whom are low-paid and 80 per cent are women.
“A lack of access to housing impacts our members who provide critical services and need to afford housing near their work,” Ms Blakey said.
HESTA will be represented at an investor roundtable to be hosted by Treasurer Jim Chalmers in Sydney on Friday.
Dr Chalmers is keen to remove barriers stopping superannuation funds and major banks investing in housing, clean energy and other areas of value to the community.
At the jobs and skills summit last month, the government committed to using incentives to encourage super funds and private investors to invest more in housing projects.
The chief executive officers of the big four banks will be on the roundtable as well as the head of Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, Raphael Arndt.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr will represent state and territory interests.
The investors have a collective $2 trillion under management.
Meanwhile, the Greens have questioned the government’s October budget pledge of a national housing accord to build one million new homes over five years starting from 2024.
Parliamentary Library analysis commissioned by the Greens found only 2.02 per cent of the new homes would be affordable for low income earners.
The independent analysis used the 30:40 definition, which is where the bottom 40 per cent of earners spend no more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs.
“With no substantial investment in public housing, no plans to scrap negative gearing and no plans to freeze rent increases, the housing accord is nothing but more of the same, and that’s what got us in the housing crisis in the first place,” Greens housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather said.
“You don’t solve the housing crisis by providing incentives and tax concessions to property developers to build the same number of luxury homes they did over the last five years, you solve it by building public and community housing.”
University of NSW research released earlier this week found 640,000 households were living in housing that is not suitable.
But this number is expected to swell to 940,000 households by 2041.