Two emerging asset classes are converging on a Brisbane construction site in a new development model touted as a mutually beneficial “force for good”.
Build-to-rent is being flexed into social and affordable housing by developer Mirvac in its first foray into a mixed-tenure model of scale at its dual-tower $270-million LIV Anura project in inner-city Newstead.
Of the 395 apartments being delivered in partnership with the Queensland government as part of its Build-to-Rent Pilot Project, 25 per cent will be affordable housing for key workers.
“Generally, there’s a recognition we could do more in this space and we genuinely have a desire to do so ... unlocking the right model is the biggest challenge,” Mirvac’s general manager build-to-rent, Angela Buckley, said.
Buckley will be a speaker at The Urban Developer Affordable and Social Housing vSummit on October 28.
“It’s been a real evolution for us and I think it speaks to the fact that there is this synergy point between the two sectors and the opportunity for the build-to-rent model to be flexed to cater for all forms of rental accommodation,” she said.
“Being able to provide good quality affordable product in proximity to peoples’ employment is probably where our focus will be going forward.
“But I think, too, there is a lot of complexity in the space and we really recognise that and we’re trying to test and learn as we go. We wouldn’t pretend that it is easy—if that was the case, everybody would be doing it. So, we’re definitely at that exploration stage.”
As of June 2021, there were 27,933 families or households on Queensland’s social housing register—up from 21,242 applications in pre-pandemic June, 2019.
Although LIV Anura is not due for completion until early 2024, Mirvac is already fielding enquiries from prospective residents wanting to go on a waiting list for its 99 allocated key worker affordable apartments.
Buckley said it was challenging to make both build-to-rent and affordable housing viable without government intervention.
“One of our observations, certainly in Sydney, is sometimes developers can pay away the responsibility of affordable housing through contributions, for example,” she said.
“But the reason we are attracted to this model with the Queensland government is we are taking responsibility to actually build and go forward ... and within a three-year period we will see almost 100 affordable rental apartments built.
“So, it’s an accelerator for actually getting product delivered.”
Buckley said Mirvac had recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a national community housing provider to work in partnership and tap into its expertise to deliver its affordable apartments.
“Not only do we think this could unlock new business opportunities but we can really both come to the table and participate with our respective skill sets so we can drive a mutually beneficial outcome, and also absolutely be a force for good and make a difference,” she said.