Help for CHPs to apply for cheaper, longer-term loans

Community housing providers are being invited to apply for cheaper and longer-secured loans from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

To help Tiers 2 and 3 CHPs apply, NHIFC has a grant program that funds professional advisory services providers chosen by the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).

One such advisory company, Caldrex Capital, met various CHPs at a breakfast hosted by Churches Housing in early August.

Anglicare, BaptistCare, Ecclesia Housing and Uniting were just some of the CHPs that attended.

As part of providing better solutions for registered CHPs, NHFIC operates an Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA).

AHBA aims to provide cheaper and longer-term secured loan finance for community housing by issuing bonds in capital markets.

Two projects announced in mid-July give some idea of the work being done.

In the first-ever construction loan to a CHP, BlueCHP will borrow $45.7 million to build at least 93 new dwellings in affordable housing projects at Lane Cove and Liverpool, on sites being acquired under the NSW Government’s Communities Plus program.

The construction loan will be for two years at interest of less than 4 per cent, which BlueCHP expects will generate savings of more than $600,000 each year.

In the second project, Bridge Housing will borrow $40 million loan for almost 300 social and affordable dwellings across Sydney.

The 10-year, low-interest loan will enable Bridge Housing to refinance existing projects and fund new ones. Over the life of the loan, it is estimated that NHFIC’s finance will save the community housing provider (CHP) as much as $7 million in interest and other costs compared to market rates.