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Aware expands affordable housing portfolio

Aware Super continues to build its affordable housing portfolio with the addition of a new development in Greater Western Sydney.

The $135 billion superannuation fund will construct 300 affordable housing units and 8750 square metres of office and retail space close to Liverpool Hospital.

The development, which has an estimated value of $300 million, will cater to housing essential workers in Liverpool, such as teachers, nurses, aged care and disability support workers, law enforcement and emergency-services workers, and childcare employees.

Damien Webb, the head of income and real assets at Aware, told Financial Standard that the units will be offered at a 20% discount.

During the pandemic, one area of concern Aware heard from its members was the issue of housing affordability.

"We felt it was important to devise a program where the fund can make good investments and returns, but at the same time do our bit to address the shortage of quality affordable housing," he said.

Aware's property investment targets a return of 5% above inflation.

He added that the units will help essential workers reduce their work commute time, and ultimately spend more time with their families.

Aware Super's pledge to such projects nationally has ticked over $450 million. The project is the fund's second major essential-worker affordable housing venture.

Some 100 essential-worker affordable housing units, which are part of the Alphington development in Melbourne, are underway.

Both initiatives are supported by real estate fund manager Altis Property Partners and community affordable housing provider Evolve and real estate agency Echo.

The super fund's other affordable-housing investments include: Epping, Waterloo, Hurstville, Northmead, Miranda (NSW); Moonee Ponds (Victoria) and Claremont (Western Australia).

Aware Super chief investment officer Damian Graham said the Liverpool development would also support jobs through critical retail and commercial services.

"Through investments like this, we have delivered top-10 returns to our members, while responding to the housing affordability challenges so many essential workers face," Graham said.

Read more: Aware SuperLiverpool HospitalDamian GrahamAltis Property PartnersDamien Webb
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