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5 things investors in supported housing should know in 2023

Last month, we were joined by two members of the Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network – John Verge, CEO of Assetz Exchange partner Golden Lane Housing and Les Warren, MD at Reside With Progress  – to give investors a deep dive into investing in quality housing for this sector.

Here are 5 key takeaways from the webinar for all supported housing investors:

#1private investors are needed to help this sector.

There is still an urgent need in the UK to increase supported housing for adults with a learning disability and/or autism.  There are around 1.1 million adults in the UK with a learning disability and about 340,000 with autism.  Around 23% of these currently receive supported housing, with others being provided for by mainstream housing solutions, living with family or in residential care.  Yet 7 out of 10 would prefer to live independently, with the right support and housing.  Worryingly, there are still 2,000 of these adults in a hospital setting, despite the government’s commitment to reduce the number of people with a learning disability or autism in inpatient units.  Mencap’s current campaign ‘Homes Not Hospitals’ is a current focus for this issue. 

#2 – there are key provider or partner attributes to look out for.

Investors can identify credible partners in several ways and the webinar speakers outlined a few of the most important, from their experience:

  • Understanding the needs of the housing commissioner, involving them right at the start of any housing project and being able to build good relationships with them.
  • Having good infrastructure to provide support and housing.  In some cases, housing providers who have grown too fast in the market haven’t had the time to build these capabilities.
  • Understanding the needs of ‘cohorts’ in respect to larger projects, as there have been some cases of overprovision.

#3 – rents have to be transparent and reasonable.

Some concerns over commercial activity in the sector have occurred where initial investments to set up projects have not been transparent and rents have not been based on reasonable assumptions of the costs involved. 

#4 – the risk profile of schemes has to be right. 

The speakers confirmed that 25+ year leases that had been used were not serving the sector well and each commercial partnership in supported housing needed to strike the right risk balance to ensure sustainable partnerships.

#5 – investors need to be aware of the Supported Housing Regulatory Oversight Bill.

This bill is likely to come on to statute in the next 3-4 months and elements of the bill, including a proposed licensing scheme, introduced by April 2025.  Investors need to be aware of any potential implications for long-term investment in the sector. 

To receive a full recording of the Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network investor webinar, email us at info@assetzexchange.co.uk.

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