How to Invest in Social Housing UK

Invest in social housing

Social housing provides affordable rental accommodation for people unable to access housing through the private market. Investing in social housing can provide stable, long-term returns while also making a positive social impact. Here’s an overview of this growing asset class and how to get involved as an investor.

What is Social Housing?

Social housing is rental accommodation owned and managed by local authorities and not-for-profit housing associations. Rents are set below market rates to be affordable for people on low incomes or with particular needs. Tenants are allocated through waiting lists based on vulnerability and housing needs. There are around 2 million social homes in England today, making up 17% of all households. Demand significantly exceeds supply, with over 1 million households on waiting lists. This has created an opportunity for private investment to help increase the availability of affordable housing.

Who is Social Housing For?

Social housing provides secure long-term rental accommodation for a wide range of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including low-income families and individuals, older people, people with disabilities or health issues, homeless people, and refugees and asylum seekers. By providing stable and affordable housing for these groups, social housing prevents homelessness and improves quality of life.

Why is Social Housing Important?

The UK is facing a housing crisis, with rising rents and house prices pricing many people out of decent housing. Social housing is vital in providing affordable homes and tackling socioeconomic inequality. The key benefits include preventing homelessness and housing insecurity, providing stability for vulnerable groups, promoting social inclusion and mobility, supporting community development, and alleviating poverty. With over 1 million households waiting for social housing, increasing supply is a policy priority. This is driving opportunities for private investment.

What Makes Social Housing an Ethical Investment?

Investing in social housing offers the chance to generate returns while also creating positive social change. The key ethical benefits include increasing the availability of affordable housing, supporting disadvantaged communities, promoting financial inclusion and security, and partnering with trusted housing providers. You can be confident your investment is enabling access to safe, high-quality and affordable homes for those who need it most.

Is Social Housing a Good Investment?

Social housing offers a relatively low-risk investment profile with stable long-term revenues. Key features include long lease terms, typically 20-30 years, rental income backed by the government through housing benefits, low tenant turnover and voids, index-linked rents providing inflation protection, shortage of supply support valuations, and socially driven tenants less likely to default. Target returns range from 3-5% net yield. While lower than private rented sector returns, the secure income stream compensates for this.

What is a Social Housing REIT?

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are companies that own and operate rental property portfolios. Some REITs specialise in social housing, providing a ready-made investment vehicle. By purchasing shares in a social housing REIT, you gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of property assets let on long leases to housing associations. This provides a hands-off investment with steady dividends. Examples of UK social housing REITs include Civitas Social Housing, Triple Point Social Housing REIT, and Residential Secure Income.

Why New Capital Link Partners with The Assisted Living Project

New Capital Link has partnered with The Assisted Living Project. As an alternative investment specialist, New Capital Link will be using its extensive investment network to introduce investment opportunities from The Assisted Ling Project.

Property REIT Specialist

New Capital Link is an investment manager specialising in property REITs and real estate funds. Our goal is to provide retail investors access to institutional-quality alternative investments normally reserved for pensions and endowments. We have extensive experience evaluating REIT investment opportunities to identify optimal risk-return profiles for our clients. Get in touch to learn more about adding social housing exposure to your portfolio in and cost-effective way.

by Rachel Buscall

by Rachel Buscall

Co-Founder & Managing Director at New Capital Link. Having started her career in the financial sector, Rachel demonstrated a natural flair for entrepreneurship.

New Capital Link

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Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be very complex and high risk.

What are the key risks?

1. You could lose all the money you invest

If the business offering this investment fails, there is a high risk that you will lose all your money. Businesses like this often fail as they usually use risky investment strategies. 

Advertised rates of return aren’t guaranteed. This is not a savings account. If the issuer doesn’t pay you back as agreed, you could earn less money than expected or nothing at all. A higher advertised rate of return means a higher risk of losing your money. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

These investments are sometimes held in an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). While any potential gains from your investment will be tax free, you can still lose all your money. An IFISA does not reduce the risk of the investment or protect you from losses.

2. You are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong

The business offering this investment is not regulated by the FCA. Protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) only considers claims against failed regulated firms. Learn more about FSCS protection here. https://www.fscs.org.uk/what-we-cover/investments/ or

Protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), in relation to claims against failed regulated firms, does not cover poor investment performance. Try the FSCS investment protection checker here. https://www.fscs.org.uk/check/investment-protection-checker/

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will not be able to consider complaints related to this firm or Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA-regulated firm, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here. https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumers

3. You are unlikely to get your money back quickly

This type of business could face cash-flow problems that delay interest payments. It could also fail altogether and be unable to repay investors their money. 

You are unlikely to be able to cash in your investment early by selling it. You are usually locked in until the business has paid you back over the period agreed. In the rare circumstances where it is possible to sell your investment in a ‘secondary market’, you may not find a buyer at the price you are willing to sell.

4. This is a complex investment

This investment has a complex structure based on other risky investments. A business that raises money like this lends it to, or invests it in, other businesses or property. This makes it difficult for the investor to know where their money is going.

This makes it difficult to predict how risky the investment is, but it will most likely be high.

You may wish to get financial advice before deciding to invest.

5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Putting all your money into a single business or type of investment for example, is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on any one to do well. 

A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments. https://www.fca.org.uk/investsmart/5-questions-ask-you-invest

If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA’s website here: https://www.fca.org.uk/investsmart

For further information about minibonds, visit the FCA’s website here.https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/mini-bonds