Disability accommodation the next frontier of property

Adam Murchie

Adam Murchie

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, together with an increased desire for thematic and impact investments, is creating the opportunity for the development of a disability housing investment framework says boutique property fund manager, Forza Capital.

Adam Murchie, co-director of Forza Capital says, “Disability housing is at a crisis point, a little like aged care was decades ago.

“Disabled people are either in aged care or remaining with parents or carers because they literally have nowhere to go.

“Government appears unable to provide the necessary supply, and we think there is a real opportunity for quality disabled housing supply to be delivered by the private sector.”

Forza Capital was recently involved in delivering a number of disability compliant apartments in its Supply Co development.

Forza Capital co Director Ashley Wain said, “We were approached by Guardian Living, a private company focused on providing apartment style Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for those with complex physical and cognitive disabilities who are registered NDIA clients.

“We worked closely with Guardian Living on delivery of the apartments and through this process, our eyes were opened to both the need, and opportunity, for the delivery of quality disabled accommodation.”

Adam Murchie continued, “We loved the concept of integrating this sort of accommodation into our Supply Co project.

“It completely aligned with our ESG principles and we think we can use our skills in funds management and property to build an impact investment vehicle in this space.

“We are working with a few other well credentialled groups on this concept at the moment and we believe there is scope to deliver a high-quality outcome for disabled occupants while providing investors a fair return on capital.”

At Supply Co, to meet Guardian Living’s requirements apartments were developed to LHA (Liveable Housing Australia) “platinum plus” standards which required features such as level changes for easy wheelchair access, adjustable bathroom vanity units and kitchen work areas, assistive technology (lighting control, electrically operated doors and windows, smart appliances) and high quality finishes with a high resistance rating.

Stephen Vick, the Development Manager of Guardian Living said, “Guardian Living has a strong philosophy on design, tenant selection, building quality and relationships with the overall goal to facilitate people with disabilities to leave hospitals, nursing homes, ageing parents and group homes, and to support them to live independently in their “own” apartment.

“For many of the tenants moving into an SDA apartment, it will be one of the most significant and challenging times of their lives.

“They will be leaving a group or nursing home, or even a family home, with structured care and very little emphasis on independent living; this is a massive step and we want to get it right.

“To deliver this, we need to partner with projects that are well connected to the community, with apartments of a sufficient floor area and a developer who both shares our vision and takes the time to understand the process.”

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