Super funds invest in community housing

March 1, 2024 BY

The Housing Affordability Future Fund aims to support the construction of 30,000 social and affordable housing properties within in its first five years. Photo: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAP IMAGE

Four major industry super funds and a major investment management company have collectively decided to invest in community housing, a decision welcomed by the Community Housing Industry Association amid surging housing stress and a chronic shortfall of social and affordable housing.

Cbus Super, CareSuper, Hostplus, Rest, and IFM Investors collectively manage more than $505 billion in funds, and announced on Monday this week their intention to inject substantial capital into the housing sector.

The funds will partner with community housing providers to initiate investments through the federal government’s Housing Affordability Future Fund (HAFF), aligning with the National Housing Accord.

The super funds have indicated the investment is possible due to new policy settings that allow for large-scale investments while safeguarding members’ returns.

Community Housing Industry Association chief executive officer Wendy Hayhurst said the decision came at a critical moment.

“The housing needs of more than 640,000 Australians are not being met and unless something substantial changes, that will surge to one million Australians by the end of the next decade.

“To combat the housing crisis, we really need all hands to the wheel, which is why this announcement from industry superannuation is so significant.

“Community housing is cost effective with a proven and sustained track record.

“We strongly endorse this announcement and look forward to working closely with industry superannuation investors, both to deliver returns for their members

while also tackling Australia’s most difficult social and economic challenge, the housing crisis.”

Established in November 2023 with an initial $10 billion in funding, the HAFF is a dedicated investment vehicle to provide additional funding to support and increase social and affordable housing, as well as other acute housing needs including the particular needs of Indigenous communities and housing services for women, children and veterans.

It aims to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years.

Monday’s announcement was made at the same time as key figures in the housing, property, and finance sectors came together to tackle the nation’s pressing housing challenges at the ninth Affordable Housing Development and Investment Summit, which was hosted in Melbourne this week.

The event provided a platform to share innovative solutions and strategies in social and affordable housing design, investment, place making, and tenancy/asset management.