HESTA aims to address housing affordability

Super fund HESTA has announced a $20 million investment in Melbourne’s apartment project, which is aimed to improve housing affordability for first home buyers, affordable housing clients and those working in key community occupations such as nurses and aged care professionals who need to remain in close proximity to major infrastructure.

HESTA said that the investment represented the opportunity for investors to achieve returns while helping address one of the biggest social challenges as the project would see 20 per cent of the apartments allocated to key contribution workers, another 20 per cent to be pre-sold to community housing providers where eligible clients could rent them at a reduced rate and the remainder to be sold to the general public, including first home buyers.

The project was a partnership between HESTA, the industry fund for the health and community services sector, housing organisation Nightingale Housing and Social Ventures Australia (SVA), a not-for-profit organisation.

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The Nightingale investment would also be the single biggest commitment HESTA made through the fund’s $70m Social Impact Investment Trust (SIIT), managed by SVA which aimed to provide both a risk-adjusted market-based return and a measurable social impact.

Nightingale Village leveraged a privately funded model focusing on environmental sustainability and offered 185 apartments in six architecturally-designed buildings on former warehouse sites in Brunswick, Melbourne.

“The way we invest focuses on the much broader impact we can have for members by aligning investments with seven strategic UN sustainable Development goals (SDGs), including how we can help make cities and communities more sustainable and inclusive,” HESTA’s chief executive, Debby Blakely, said.

Previous impact investments made by HESTA included Glenview, a suburban village for those living with dementia in Tasmania.

The announcement also represented SVA’s second investment in a Nightingale development after the success of Nightingale 1 through now-closed $9 million Social Impact Fund.

Nightingale Housing’s managing director, Jeremy McLead, said that his firm offered a triple bottom housing model which was designed to deliver housing at cost that was affordable and offered a sense of community.

“We started with the idea that the answer to housing in our country was in design, in in architecture, and what I discovered was that the answer was in an entirely new system,” he said.

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