On 12 December 2017, Vincent Mahé, General Counsel of CDC Habitat and CEO of AMPERE Gestion, took part in a conference on “Recasting the social housing model” organised by Le Moniteur. In light of the current focus on private sector funding of social housing and what proportion this should take, Vincent Mahé reminded participants of the underlying strengths of the intermediate housing funds and the Hémisphere model and reiterated AMPERE Gestion’s intention of setting up a social housing investment fund.
Vincent Mahé was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion alongside Laurent Ghekiere, Chair of the European Social Housing Observatory (Housing Europe), Jean-Michel Royo, member of the Management Board of Arkéa Banque, and Vincent Sillegue, CEO of Koregraf. He stressed that the contribution of private sector funding to social housing still remains marginal despite the advantages of the housing sector.
« Social housing represents a good opportunity for institutional investors: by definition, it guarantees stable rents and occupancy rates. As an integral part of the social infrastructure, it is both profitable and low-risk. »
In view of the plans to overhaul the sector, Vincent Mahé and the other guest speakers stressed the need to reinvent the role of social landlords and the social housing model, notably by developing a framework for private operator involvement that would make it easier to sell off social housing units in the future, or by forging long-term partnerships between investors and social housing bodies.
« Protecting tenants is what social housing is all about. This is its real value added. Investing in bricks and mortar is not its core business yet this is the most capital intensive part of the activity. We could easily separate these two functions – as has been done in the hotel sector, for example. »
With this in mind, Vincent Mahé reiterated AMPERE Gestion’s aim of setting up a social housing investment fund in 2018. Vincent also reminded participants that regulatory stability is a key imperative for attracting private investors and that one of the key success factors for this project would be clear and unambiguous regulatory guidelines.