Financing and developing affordable housing at the National Housing Conference

Increasing the supply of affordable housing is a key area for Australian policy makers

11 October 2017

Increasing the supply of affordable housing is a key area for Australian policy makers. Research shows a shortfall of at least 271,000 rental homes available and affordable to low income households in 2011, and this is likely to have become worse since then.

The National Housing Conference 2017 will present a range of sessions to explore new and innovative ways of financing and developing affordable housing. Governments are moving on this, as is seen by measures in the 2017 Budget to establish a National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to source cheaper funds from the bond markets for affordable housing supply, but what other policy issues and strategies are important to consider?

These Conference sessions are essential for developers, investors, policymakers in affordable housing and everyone interested in unlocking new supply and financing of affordable housing.

The major plenary session, Flying the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, will assess the conditions required for the NHIFC to successfully jump-start the supply of affordable housing in Australia. As the Federal Government pushes to implement the NHFIC, this session will examine what we can learn from the UK equivalent. Hear from Mr Piers Williamson, the foremost international voice on affordable housing finance and a key adviser to the Federal Treasury, currently running the Housing Finance and Investment Corporation in the UK, which administers £5 billion in loans to housing associations.

Prominent journalist Leigh Sales will facilitate the major concurrent session What’s the (City) Deal with affordable housing?. With the Federal Government actively pursuing a cities agenda through the establishment of City Deals, this discussion will examine what role City Deals can play in creating affordable housing, and how local, state and federal governments can collaborate to create affordable and liveable cities.

What role does land use planning have in stimulating new supply of affordable housing? Unpack this question in Land use planning, value capture and density – the keys to affordable housing supply. Under the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, the Federal Government expects States and Territories to change planning regulations in order to increase new affordable housing supply. This session will focus on land-use planning approaches, such as inclusionary zoning, before a panel debates how to deliver real planning reform.

What would happen if social housing were treated as key public infrastructure, like roads and rail? The subject of an AHURI Inquiry, the session As if social housing were infrastructure will articulate the rationale for designing social housing as infrastructure, examining the international evidence and identifying appropriate investment pathways.

Australia’s readiness for Build to Rent (BTR) – an approach whereby apartment blocks are built to provide a dedicated supply of rent only units – will be examined in this session. With a focus on experiences from overseas (currently there is over £10 billion of institutional capital in play in the UK), this session will hear from some of Australia’s large-scale institutional investors and their intention to enter the Built to Rent market. The panel will feature representatives from Mirvac, Ernst and Young, and the Property Council of Australia.

Research from the AHURI Inquiry will support the minor concurrent session Scalpels and sledgehammers: breaking the tax deadlock. An expert panel will chart the pathway to meaningful tax reform and help break the political deadlock afflicting Australian housing tax policy.

Internationally, we have seen that social impact investment is a growing area of funding and financing for solutions to complex social problems. The session, Social impact investment for housing and homelessness, seeks to understand the roles, opportunities, risks, levers and barriers in applying social impact investment to housing policy in Australia.

With affordable housing supply one of the most crucial key Australian policy areas of 2017, this wide range of sessions offers the opportunity to explore ways to find new and innovative housing options.  To be part of the conversation, register now for the National Housing Conference 2017 and reserve your spot.