Fresh Insights

30 Jun 2021

Aware Super confronts housing crisis, opens critical essential worker affordable housing

With housing affordability an issue in many of Australia’s cities, the rise of rental prices risks pushing essential workers into poorer quality accommodation further away from their workplaces.

With healthcare and social assistance workers earning an average of $1,057 per week, and those in education $1,2501, some essential workers would have to fork out almost half their wage to be able to afford the median Sydney rental price of $5002.

Aware Super has today launched its newest affordable housing development for essential workers in the Sydney suburb of Miranda, providing rental relief to the frontline heroes who have kept the city running amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Construction for the Meridian Miranda commenced in July 2019 and now completed, consists of 102 apartments across two buildings. The build-to-rent units (51) have been reserved as affordable housing and made available to defined essential workers at 80 per cent of the market rate for the area. The remaining units (51) were available for purchase.

The discounted rental model provides practical cost-of-living relief for essential workers who have given so much during the pandemic – including teachers, nurses, healthcare workers, aged-care employees, police, emergency services, childcare workers and those who work in associated industries.

Aware Super Chief Executive Officer Deanne Stewart said Australia was facing a housing affordability crisis and super funds could play a critical role in helping to address the nation’s housing affordability crisis, at the same time as delivering strong, long-term returns for members.

”It’s a painful reality that many of the frontline workers who have kept the country running throughout the pandemic are struggling to find a safe and affordable place to live, close to where they work,” Ms Stewart said.

”Australians who are passionate about doing the kind of work that supports our communities deserve to be supported to live, and retire, in the communities where they work. Essential workers should not be forced to make the trade-off between living in housing that is either of a poorer quality or a long commute to their place of work.

”Aware Super is determined to be part of Australia’s housing affordability solution by investing in projects and businesses that are sustainable, create jobs, foster innovation and contribute to the communities where our members live, work and retire.

“The Meridian Miranda development is Aware Super’s first built-to-rent affordable housing development in Australia and we’re very proud to play our part in increasing supply, providing quality, affordable rentals for essential workers, while delivering top performance to our members.

“Additionally, the expertise we’ve developed through this project has set us up for more projects of this type across Australia – in Liverpool and Zetland in NSW, inner Melbourne and Preston in Victoria and Burswood in Western Australia.”

Aware Super’s affordable housing portfolio is now projected to reach $1.5 billion on completion, marking the largest investment in Australia’s build-to-rent sector by any institutional investor.

Altis Property acquired and developed the site in partnership with Aware Super. Shaun Hannah, Executive Director at Altis said: “This is the first development delivered under a program of essential worker affordable housing apartments. The project team has delivered a high-quality product in a desirable location close to transport, amenity and essential worker employment.”

Aware Super has hundreds of apartments rented out to essential workers currently, and the total number is expected to climb above 1,000 by the end of 2024.

Aware Real Estate acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands where we work and live. We celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their ongoing cultures and connections to the lands and waters. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.