Victoria’s first registered Affordable Housing Association has today become the first in the state to receive a $65M loan from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) designed to scale-up and save on costs.
The 10-year low-interest loan will enable Haven; Home, Safe (HHS) to refinance existing debt and fund new projects. Over the life of the loan, it is estimated that NHFIC’s finance will save HHS as much as $10 million in interest and other costs compared to market rates.
NHFIC is an independent Commonwealth entity that provides cheaper and longer-term secured finance by issuing bonds to community housing providers in Australia’s debt capital markets.
HHS Chair Sue Clarke said the long-term certainty and cost savings were critical to building the organisation’s capacity to accelerate and increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
“The NHFIC interest rate is significantly below the rates that we can typically borrow and means we can put more money into building new homes,” Ms Clarke said.
“The Board of Directors is extremely pleased that this new financing arrangement will improve the availability of sustainable housing for our vulnerable client group, including people on low incomes, those who are living with a disability, or experiencing homelessness.”
PowerHousingAustralia, the Industry peak incubated by HHS from Bendigo, now based in Canberra, was instrumental in achieving bipartisan support in 2018 to allow the formation of NHFIC, that has now directly assisted HHS to continue its growth trajectory.
Over the past decade, HHS has built an impressive affordable housing portfolio valued at $350 million, comprising a mix of one, two and three-bedroom properties throughout regional Victoria and parts of suburban Melbourne.
Much of this housing was built with State Government funding and borrowings from the Bendigo Bank at commercial rates, according to HHS CEO Ken Marchingo AM.
“The Bendigo Bank has been a great partner of ours,” Mr Marchingo said.
“However, access to finance on more favourable terms will considerably improve our capacity to deliver on our purpose to support and house those most vulnerable in the community.”
Mr Marchingo said HHS was currently working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Treasury on another very significant social housing construction deal, the details of which are expected to be announced soon.