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Affordable Housing Register to help solve nation’s housing crisis

Australian-first digital Affordable Housing Register

Australia will be home to a game-changing digital Affordable Housing Register (AHR) designed to help tackle the nation’s housing crisis by unlocking private capital to fund affordable housing projects, nationwide.

The Affordable Housing Register is spearheaded by the non-profit organisation Housing All Australians (HAA) and PEXA Group Limited (PEXA), a world-leading digital property exchange platform and property insight solutions business.

With input from local government and the property industry, PEXA and HAA are building a national register that serves as a centralised platform and repository for recording all affordable housing commitments, while providing governments with the ability to transparently monitor the compliance of all stakeholders through the process.

The AHR ensures that developers, investors, property owners and tenants uphold their obligations, such as the committed period of below-market rent, guaranteeing the long-term affordability of the housing created.

Landscape of different coloured affordable homes

HAA Chair, Louise Rutten, emphasised the urgency of addressing Australia’s housing crisis through collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors.

“One of the biggest challenges with affordable housing is being able to track both the construction of housing – where it’s going and where it’s needed – and then the compliance with developers’ commitments to keep the housing affordable in the longer term. The other big challenge is attracting private capital to this sector because, despite good-intentioned efforts at a local, state and federal level, we know governments can’t solve this problem alone. Innovations like the AHR are fundamental to finding new solutions that deliver more affordable housing,” she said.

affordable Richmond Melbourne apartment

PEXA Group Chief Executive Officer, Glenn King, described the register as an important step toward ensuring transparency on affordable housing commitments.

“At PEXA, we are driven by our purpose and there’s no greater purpose for us than applying our technology capabilities to help resolve Australia’s urgent housing crisis. If we do not collectively solve this issue it will challenge the future prosperity of our country. This is a societal problem that requires true collaboration between business and the public sector, and it’s this kind of ‘out of the box’ thinking being driven by organisations, like HAA, that will pave the way for innovative, new solutions to Australia’s housing challenges.”

While the AHR will be a national platform, it will be trialled in Melbourne first, with the City of Port Phillip, the City of Yarra, and the City of Melbourne staff playing pivotal roles in the pilot working group which is expected to conclude by early October.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she strongly supported the initiative.

“The AHR will help magnify the outcomes from the City of Melbourne’s affordable housing strategy,” she said. “By unlocking private sector capital, we can offer affordable housing for essential workers that is closer to their workplaces, strengthening our local communities.”

The AHR platform will seamlessly integrate with HAA’s Progressive Residential Affordability Development Solution (PRADS). PRADS enables the creation of affordable housing without relying on any government subsidy or funding. It enables private sector collaboration with government to create additional value within the development which is then used as the subsidy for the affordable housing. This added value can be created in various ways, such as increasing development density or through negotiated outcomes of rezoning applications.

The resulting affordable housing obligations are secured on title, with rents set below market rates for at least 30 years, allowing developers to sell the affordable housing to investors while the government maintains oversight, through the AHR, to ensure the affordability is maintained for the agreed period.

Kelly Grigsby, CEO of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said Local Government holds a crucial responsibility in this process and collaboration with industry is the key. 

“The PRADS approach is another constructive way to support productive partnerships between the development industry and local government which, over time, could generate substantial quantities of affordable housing. We also believe the AHR will fill a significant gap, helping councils monitor voluntary agreements with developers over the long term”.

The introduction of the AHR will replace the outdated Excel spreadsheets currently used by most councils, enabling real time transparency.

The AHR can be used in both the build-to-sell and build-to-rent markets. Developers like HOME, Australia’s largest build-to-rent (BTR) operator, are eager to collaborate with local government to ensure ongoing compliance and affordability in negotiated housing.

Christian Graham, Head of HOME said: “HOME owns and manages affordable housing in one of our BTR communities and, subject to regulatory incentives, we believe more should be done in this space. Through the transparency and oversight provided to government by the AHR, we now have a tool that supports the BTR operator managing its entire portfolio. This is a significant innovation for our sector.”

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Danielle Tricarico – Head of Corporate Affairs, PEXA
E: Danielle.tricarico@pexa.com.au
M: 0403 688 980

Robert Pradolin – Founder and Executive Director, HAA
E: robert.pradolin@housingallaustralians.org.au
M: 0418 387 159