Treasurer Jim Chalmers tips $300m into build-to-rent project in NSW

Friday’s investor roundtable, the first of several, will include the big four bank bosses, as well as Macquarie’s Shemara Wikramanayake, the Future Fund’s Raphael Arndt and Blackbird’s Robyn Denholm, who is also the chair of Tesla.

Chief executives, chief investment officers or chairpersons from HESTA, Rest, IFM Investors, Australian Retirement Trust, Insignia, UniSuper, Colonial First State, AustralianSuper, Aware Super and Cbus will also attend, as will key players from the real estate sector.

Australian Retirement Trust incoming chair Andrew Fraser, who will speak at the meeting, said there was no silver bullet to lift institutional investment in residential real estate.

“There is a substantive problem here, and like most complex problems there is complexity in the [solutions]. I think by being around the table in the first instance, that’s square one,” Mr. Fraser told The Australian Financial Review.

Mr Fraser said funds were invested in office and industrial property because they were commercial and had active institutional markets, unlike residential real estate.

Dr. Chalmers says the government has identified a number of areas where it thinks Australians can benefit most from more targeted, institutional investment in national priorities.

This includes housing supply and affordability, the energy transition, manufacturing and the digital economy.

“Starting with housing today, we will work closer than ever before with leading investors, major banks, global asset managers and superannuation funds to promote stronger investment in these priority areas,” Dr. Chalmers said.

“By working together, we can ensure Australian capital is invested in Australian priorities in a way that’s in shareholders’ and members’ best interests.”

Dr. Chalmers announced at September’s Jobs and Skills Summit that he would widen the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to invest $575 million of its uncommitted funds in social and affordable housing.

Housing Minister Julie Collins said the $150 million Westmead project was an example of leveraging government funding to attract institutional investment in affordable housing for rent.

“We want to see affordable housing where it’s needed, and more workers at the hospital will soon be able to have somewhere close and convenient to call home,” she said.

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