Australia has a serious housing affordability issue.

Housing prices have soared by more than 500 percent over the past 25 years (Real Estate Institute of Australia, 2021).

Shortage of affordable dwellings for low-income households in the private rental sector has grown to 173,000.

The most extreme shortage is in Sydney, where 71 percent of all low-income private rental households pay unaffordable rent (AHURI, 2021).

The substantial increase in social and affordable housing growth required to meet growing demand is an unprecedented challenge for this generation of Australians.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on vulnerable members of our community, with many joining social housing waitlists for the first time, it has also created an energy for reform that needs to be harnessed quickly to benefit the broader population.

The way forward for social housing

While pre-existing policy reforms had provided the community housing sector with some impetus for growth, the scale of the challenge now requires closer alignment of objectives across social housing stakeholders, and substantial capability building in government and the sector.

Significant government investment is paving the way for innovative commercial partnerships between government, the community housing sector and private industry. This presents an opportunity to establish the community housing sector as a powerful driving force for housing supply and the effective management of social and affordable housing stock and tenants.

How KPMG can help

KPMG helps with social policy, brand/customer experience, infrastructure planning, asset management, technology support and transactions.

The social and affordable housing landscape has many complexities and embedding new approaches to improve outcomes for housing consumers can take a long time. Our team has wide-ranging experience conducting strategic advisory work for housing and social services clients nationally. We bring together robust evidence with a nuanced understanding of how things work in practice. Our strategic research, consultation, facilitation, and program design are all analytically sound and grounded in reality – our work supports direct implementation and on-the-ground outcomes.

Social housing providers will be expected to take a more customer-centric approach. KPMG’s experience in delivering large, complex, long-term transformation programs, along with our data analytics and digital capability, means we are able to support government and community housing organisations to improve their understanding of their customers, and use this understanding to inform business decisions for both strategic asset planning and operational insights.

The challenge for governments in delivering social housing at scale is accessing the required funding to sustain ongoing investment and maintenance of assets. There are currently unique opportunities to use financial leverage (debt) to deliver an efficient cost of capital to maximise housing outcomes. KPMG can help support government and community organisations in enhanced strategic planning, optimised asset management, developing partnerships for greater access to capital (e.g. with community providers, developers and banks), and facilitating the use of a range of market structures that could assist in the delivery of housing outcomes.

Recent years have seen unprecedented levels of stimulus being injected into the Australian social and affordable housing market at the state and federal levels. Collectively, these approaches have focused on supporting not-for-profit organisations and the community housing sector to enable their growth, leverage their service delivery capabilities and develop land holdings. While there are compelling benefits for this approach, there are challenges that need to be navigated as community housing providers develop stronger commercial acumen, increase their internal resource experience and improve risk management processes. KPMG has experience across government and community housing providers in designing dynamic and adaptive risk frameworks that bring our foresight and operational knowledge to bear on the analysis, governance and reporting of risk.

We have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable members of community. Our health, ageing and human services specialists have expertise in program evaluation and design in housing, homelessness, health, mental health, child protection, disability, ageing and family violence prevention. We have deep experience in designing and integrating service systems for people seeking human services. We have a range of bespoke planning tools to underpin strategies, drawing on global best-practice modelling techniques, but grounding the approach in the reality of demographics, drivers of demand and economic and employment patterns.

Our team devises and executes strategies and transactions that support corporate, government and not-for-profit clients to deliver their financial, operational and strategic objectives. We have experience in developing social housing infrastructure within the community housing sector as well as private sector developers. Our real estate specialists have a wide range of experience and understanding that has been developed and refined through our experience leading engagements within the affordable and social housing sector across Australia and New Zealand. Examples of this experience includes financial modelling, financial and strategic development, portfolio strategy, and valuation and feasibility analysis for social housing providers, government and not-for-profits.

We have extensive experience providing commercial advisory services for projects at the state and federal level, including both the forecasting and planning of future infrastructure projects. We deliver across the whole asset lifecycle from planning and business case through to market engagement, contracting and ongoing asset management.

Social housing insights

Read our insights and how we've helped some of our clients in relation to social housing

Meet the team

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