Not-for-profit Community Housing Providers could inject some oomph into the Build to Rent model

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) today welcomed the publication of Build-to-Rent in Australia: Product feasibility and potential affordable housing contribution, a report prepared for the NSW Government by UNSW City Futures and Macquarie University.

https://cityfutures.be.unsw.edu.au/documents/551/LCOM_0000_Build_to_Rent_Report_WEB_July_2019.pdf

After considerable debate and discussion about, but not much action taken on the build to rent model, this report gets to the guts of what needs to be done to make the model fly.

Wendy Hayhurst, CEO at CHIA, the peak body for Australia’s not-for-profit community housing industry, said “While the Government’s commitment to helping people make the step into home ownership is a positive, there are many hard working, lower paid Australians for whom this remains a longer term dream, so more high quality secure and affordable rental accommodation is very much needed.”

The report is positive about the benefits to be gained from a thriving build to rent sector – its contribution to housing diversity, the likelihood that construction standards will be driven upwards and its potential to counter the troughs in the market. It also makes clear what needs to be done if both ‘market’ build to rent and more importantly an affordable rental component are to be secured. As well as levelling the playing field with other ‘market players’ on ‘development taxes and ongoing levies’, to get the all-important affordable element, governments need to provide some additional support.

Critically, the report also demonstrates the advantage of using not-for-profit community housing providers to deliver the housing.

John Nicolades, CEO of Bridge Housing which operates across Sydney explained why. “As charitable entities we benefit from tax concessions which reduce our development costs. We also don’t need to take money out of our business to pay shareholders. So if we developed a build to rent block with both market and affordable rental homes we could use the profit from the market rented properties to help fund the affordable homes.”

Andrew Hannan, CEO at CHC, the largest community housing provider in the ACT and one of the major not-for-profit developers in the industry, added “The report also demonstrates the difference discounted land could make to project viability, a point we make in CHIA’s National Plan for Affordable Housing. Our industry was very pleased that the Housing Minister Michael Sukkar in one of his first statements recognised that government land contributions could help us secure affordable housing.”

With the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC) also providing low cost, long term loans to community housing providers, supporting CHPs to deliver build to rent must be a no-brainer.

Contact: Wendy Hayhurst 0421 046 832