What’s needed to make social impact investing work for affordable housing

Australia’s banks have invested around $1.5 billion dollars in social impact investment projects for community housing providers, however there are significant barriers to expanding social impact investments, AHURI research has found.

Social impact investments, which aim to achieve both a financial return and a specific, measurable social benefit, are a collaboration between social service providers, investors and governments. Their intention is to find new sources of capital from different types of investors and enhance the return on government investment.

‘We found that social impact investors have a range of investment expectations, from ‘impact-first’ investors who are willing to accept below market-rate returns to ‘finance-first’ investors who want returns equal or near equal to market-rates,’ says research leader, Dr Andrea Sharam from RMIT University.

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