CHPs are currently able to access the Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) and in the coming months, the Auckland Housing Bond capital.
Historically, providers received capital grants from the Social Housing Fund/Housing Innovation Fund until 2014 when the central government housing reform programme changed to the IRRS as a rent-based subsidy programme.
Read more about the housing reform programme at: www.socialhousing.govt.nz.
New Zealand Housing Bonds
A socially responsible investment to deliver social and affordable housing.
New Zealand Housing Bonds (NZHB) is being established with two objectives: to provide financing for Community Housing Providers (CHPs) to deliver social and affordable housing, and to develop the capability of the community housing sector through its shareholder, Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA).
CHA, the charitable incorporated society which serves as peak body for New Zealand’s community housing sector, is launching NZHB as a wholly-owned company to address the financing needs of the sector.
Initially, it is proposed that NZHB will raise funds – by way of an issue of Auckland Housing Bonds. The initial regional investment offering will be for a 36 month term, and will provide quarterly interest payments in arrears at a fixed interest rate similar to the on-call bank deposit rate (at the time of the offer). A total of $30 million of investment is sought, in tranches beginning in December 2015.
The Auckland Housing Bond funding will be available as a loan to CHRA-registered CHPs, to meet their land acquisition and construction financing needs. It is anticipated that the Bonds will drive down the cost of borrowing, whilst facilitating CHP partnership with developers seeking to activate the Retained Affordable housing targets of the Auckland Special Housing Areas (SHAs). CHPs can deliver either social rental or affordable ownership pathway forms of tenure, with take-out financing supported through market rents and the IRRS, or by way of first home buyer programmes.
CHA is currently appointing the initial governing board for NZHB and confirming its constitution. CHA is confirming the working capital through a combination of philanthropic sources and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, with a 20% first loss guarantee (to a total value of $6M) provided by Auckland Council.
While initially focused in Auckland, as NZHB capacity develops it is expected its board would expand CHP lending over time throughout New Zealand.
At a high level the NZHB initiative facilitates the following outcomes, filling a gap in the affordability puzzle:
- creates homes at a price that works with the MSD Social Housing Purchasing Intentions – adding new supply in Auckland leveraging government investment
- leverages new socially responsible investment into community housing
- facilitates the retention of equity in CHPs – proven stewards of public resources, delivering housing and services that meet local need
- stimulates the private sector to partner with CHPs to exceed the minimum requirements of retained affordable homes in the special housing areas
In the first three years of NZHB operations (2015-2018) it is anticipated that NZHB will facilitate up to 200 homes for families in need.
Further announcements are expected between October and December 2015.