COVID 19 Recovery — Financing Prospects For New Social Housing

A word salad of ideas associated with Real Estate Investment Trusts
REIT photo by is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Real Estate Investment Trusts are marketed as a safe investment tool, though not without impact on land and housing values. Can they work successfully for social housing?

There is no question that the COVID-19 response has messed with the economy. Recovery planners are eyeing social housing as a potential win-win for the construction industry and households with very low or no incomes. COVID-19 has underlined the importance of housing, especially for people with very low incomes, who were having a desperate time finding housing that was affordable even before the pandemic. Meanwhile, measures to limit COVID-19’s damage put the brakes on construction activity, which now needs to get restarted.

Governments have implemented quite substantial public spending programs during COVID-19 and have received high ratings in the polls. Governments have also paid to build social housing in the past, but in most countries there’s still not much evidence that this might happen again.

Alternative ideas for funding have recently been featured in the media. Examples include Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Ethical Investment Funds and Pension Plans. They are potentially large sources of capital, which seek reliable investments that provide a modest rate of return.

Here is an article published in IP&E, an industry publication for institutional investors and pension funds: USS bullish on shared ownership housing, debuts with £300m debt facility

See also three earlier posts about potential funding sources for social housing: