Can Build-to-Rent Generate Affordable Housing Outcomes? A Whole-Life Costing Approach to Investment Analysis

Prince Acheampong, George William Earl


Doubts remain among stakeholders in academia and the housing industry about the potential success of build-to-rent to generate positive outcomes for institutional investors and affordable dwellings for low- and moderate-income households. However, a systematic study on the viability of build-to-rent to deliver affordable housing in Australia is largely rare and non-existent in the literature. We fill this gap in the literature by investigating the financial viability of build-to-rent and its potential to generate affordable rental housing outcomes in Brisbane, Australia. Using rental prices from CoreLogic (Formerly RP data) and construction-related costing data from WT Partners Australia for 2019, we apply the whole-life costing approach to investment analysis and confirm that build-to-rent can be feasible in Australia under equity financing. Also, we find that under the current regulatory regimes and market structure, build-to-rent will fail to deliver affordable housing outcomes. Moreover, providing free land alone cannot help to make build-to-rent affordable. Thus, significant public subsidy and tax concessions, particularly on Goods and Services Tax (GST) on construction-related costs, may be required if build-to-rent developments are to generate affordable housing outcomes in Australia.

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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