Vancouver investment funds go after city’s housing issue

Two Vancouver investment firms have announced they are working together to provide affordable housing options in the city | Photo: Joseph Hanus

Two Vancouver-based investment funds have announced they are teaming up to try to tackle the problem of housing affordability in the city.

OceanRock Investments, an firm responsible for $1.4 billion in Canadian investments, has invested in New Market Funds, a company focused on delivering long-term community benefits as well as market-based returns.

Through its Meritas SRI fund, Ocean Rock will invest in New Market’s inaugural affordable housing fund, which aims to deliver affordable rental housing in large Canadian cities.

“Investors in the Meritas SRI Funds want competitive financial returns along with a positive social and environmental impact,” says OceanRock CEO Fred Pinto. “Our investment in New Market Funds meets our impact investing criteria.”

New Market’s investment criterion involves combining competitive financial returns with a positive societal impact. New Market Funds partners with governments, co-op operations and non-profit foundations to build affordable rental housing. New Market then works with private capital sources to fund the various projects.

New Market Funds has committed capital to help facilitate the construction of 358 affordable rental housing units in Vancouver. The capital was contributed in partnership with the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation and B.C. Housing. The units were built on four sites which were a contribution made by the City of Vancouver.

According to OceanRock, the rental units will be significantly more affordable than housing options currently available on the market. To ensure the unit’s affordability now and in the future, the developments will be managed and operated by co-op and non-profit partners. OceanRock also says that the units will eventually be fully owned by these groups.

New Market Funds has plans for more projects for providing affordable rental housing. The fund plans to build an additional 1,100 units in 5 of Canada’s largest cities including Vancouver and Victoria.