Institutional Investment in Social and Affordable Housing in Ireland

  • William Nowlan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The housing market in several countries is facing major challenges concerning the supply of new housing and in particular the provision in the affordable and social sector. This has been accentuated by financial constraints on public sector spending meaning that new ways of funding social/affordable housing are required working in conjunction with the private sector and using private finance. Ireland is faced with similar problems where traditionally government capital has been used through local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies to provide new housing in this sector. This thesis puts forward a model of institutional equity funding for social/affordable housing. The hypothesis is that a steady, cash producing investment in housing with a high level of security via government underpinning should be amenable to yield-seeking institutional investors. Within Ireland, dense concentrations of social housing have proven to be unsuccessful, accordingly the provision of a mixed tenure model, incorporating a tenant base with greater economic capacity facilitates the innovative delivery of sustainable communities in the rental housing sector. Most of the academic literature on Irish social housing has originated from the social sciences and from a historical perspective. Hence, there is a lack of research on how housing is funded including the absence of viable financial models of delivery. This thesis, in addressing this issue, combines the analysis of social housing funding mechanisms at an international level with a consideration of the institutional residential investment environment. The research is set in the context of Irish social housing as a system in a historical institutional perspective highlighting strong path dependencies. The proposed fund articulated in this thesis advocates using public sector support to stimulate institutional investment in mixed-tenure housing through an equity capital vehicle with REIT –type characteristics giving property market returns to institutional investors.
Date of AwardJun 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStanley Mc Greal (Supervisor) & Jim Berry (Supervisor)


  • Affordable Rental
  • Cost Rental
  • Equity Funding
  • Mixed Tenure

Cite this