Super can help with affordable housing: Cbus

10 April 2017

The Federal Government could take immediate action to address housing affordability by bringing forward plans to facilitate investment by superannuation funds into the market.

David Atkin, Chief Executive Officer of Cbus, the industry super fund for the Construction and Building Industry said superannuation funds can play a role in improving the supply of affordable and social housing.

“One of the biggest problems with housing affordability in Australia is supply - we need to build more houses,” Mr Atkin said.

“Cbus stands ready to invest in this critical infrastructure but the Federal Government needs to get the policy settings right to make those investments sustainable.

“If that’s done and there’s an appropriate risk and return profile, Cbus has the capacity to make meaningful investments in this space.

“We were encouraged by the Treasurer’s recent decision to establish an Affordable Housing Implementation taskforce that will consider the issues but we are calling on the Government to go a step further and make concrete commitments in the upcoming Federal budget.

“We welcome today’s reports that the Treasurer is seeking to harness large-scale private investment and we look forward to examining the detail.

“Obviously, coordination across Commonwealth and State and Territory jurisdictions is essential to successfully address housing affordability.

“Letting first home buyers dip into their retirement savings for a house deposit is not the answer and should be ruled out immediately.”

Cbus prefers a model that creates new housing stock as we want to invest and we want to build.

“We are a conscientious and patient provider of capital that proudly invests in our industry,” Mr Atkin said.

“Cbus members build our nation so there is a natural symmetry with their superannuation being invested into their industry to build a better future for Australia.

“We have a further unique advantage by having expertise in property development via Cbus Property.”

Cbus sees particular merit in a housing loan / bond aggregator overseen by a well experienced and capable Board which would issue bonds to investors and use the monies raised to finance large scale and well skilled affordable housing providers.

Such a model has been successful in the UK, appears to have broad support in Australia and could be a sound mechanism to attract institutional investment and provide the level of scale needed for institutional investors