Integrating impact housing in Australian build-to-rent developments

Local, a Macquarie Asset Management portfolio company, is developing sustainable buildings and is committed to integrating impact housing into its rental apartment developments.

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Sector Infrastructure
Sub-sector Real estate
Location Australia


Like many countries around the world, Australia is experiencing a housing crisis, with an estimated 640,000 low-income households living in housing stress.1

Driven by an insufficient supply of appropriate housing to meet needs, these households are either experiencing homelessness,2 living in overcrowded homes, or spending over 30 per cent of their income on rent.3

Six out of 10 people seeking help from Australian homelessness services are women,4 including an increasing number of older women.5 In addition, almost 3,000 people with disabilities under 65 live in aged-care facilities, and more than 30 enter aged care every month,6 because they don’t have other housing options.

Local is an Australian build-to-rent residential developer and operator established by its two principals and a Macquarie Asset Management joint venture in 2021 to create new build-to-rent housing at attainable rental levels, boosting housing supply and helping to alleviate housing shortages and stress. Local is aiming to manage over 5,000 sustainably designed7 apartments by 2026 (including those completed and under development) and is planning for at least 10 per cent of these homes to create positive social impact.8


Within each of its developments, Local is integrating accommodation tailored for people who find it difficult to access appropriate housing.  

Local’s impact housing is focused on three groups of people: key workers such as nurses and those in the hospitality sector; people living with a disability; and women over the age of 55 who are at risk of homelessness. Where demographics support demand, Local will also include apartments designed to meet the Liveable Housing Australia Gold standard – which provide better access, circulation space and facilities – to provide viable housing for older Australians seeking to age in place.

Local is also exploring a separate strategy of providing up to one-third impact housing (where rents are two-thirds of the prevailing market) in select projects and locations, partnering with like-minded investors.


Since its establishment in 2021, Local has committed $A53 million to impact housing and forecasts its impact development pipeline will grow to over $A100 million by the end of 2023.

Two Local projects totalling around 900 apartments are currently under construction in the Melbourne neighbourhoods of Kensington and South Melbourne and are due to open from 2024.

Between these projects, Local will provide 83 affordable, social and specialist disability accommodation apartments, with partnerships with the Women’s Property Initiatives – a not-for-profit registered community housing provider which supports women over the age of 55 at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness – and Home in Place – a specialist disability accommodation provider.

Targeting 5,000 new, sustainably designed build-to-rent homes7

At least 10 per cent of each development dedicated to impact housing8

Targeting an impact housing development pipeline of more than $A100 million by the end of 2023

Local is a great example of how impact housing can be strategically integrated into the private rental housing sector, creating genuine, diverse communities with positive social impact, while maintaining project-level returns.”

Jelte Bakker
Global Head of Opportunistic Real Estate
Macquarie Asset Management

  1. ‘Quantifying Australia’s unmet housing need: A national snapshot’, Community Housing Industry Association, 31 January 2023,
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 22 March 2021, Estimating homelessness: Census,
  3. ‘Rental Affordability Index: research report’, SGS Economics & Planning, 2022.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Homelessness and homelessness services,
  5. What the 2021 Census told us about homelessness, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute,
  6. The issue – Younger people in residential aged care, Summer Foundation,
  7. For all its developments, Local targets minimum certifications of 5 Star GreenStar from the Green Building Council of Australia, and 7 star under the Australian Nationwide Energy rating system,
  8. Local has committed to allocating at least 10 per cent of the housing within a project to impact housing, which it defines as social housing, key worker affordable housing, specialist disability accommodation, or age-in-place dwellings.

Macquarie Asset Management FY23 Sustainability Report

At Macquarie Asset Management, we view sustainability as part of our fiduciary duty to protect and grow our clients’ assets. This focus also helps us generate positive outcomes for our investee companies and the communities they serve. Our latest Sustainability Report outlines the progress we have made over the past financial year.