NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation

Pathway to a mature market

This paper shares PwC and the Summer Foundation's vision of a mature, properly functioning disability housing market as well as discussing pathways that need to be in place to reach it.


In July 2016, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) introduced a funding provision with the potential to allow 28,000 Australians with disability to move into accessible and affordable housing, called Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

This policy gives everyone involved in the sector an opportunity to create new housing that is accessible and affordable, including options that enable people with disability to live with their partner and/or children.

The current status of the disability accommodation market is fragmented and underfunded. As a result, it is an inflexible market where consumers have limited choice in their housing options.

The features of the current market for disability housing can be summarised as follows:

  • limited availability of housing stock, few funding sources for development,
  • minimal transparency of potential tenants,
  • a new and uncertain regulatory regime with insufficient future guarantees,
  • and inadequate understanding of the SDA regime by developers, investors, contractors, property managers, disability service providers, people with disability and their families, and in some cases, various levels of government.

In sharp contrast, the key features of an effective and mature SDA market can be summarised as follows:

  1. A sufficient supply of various forms of dwellings that meet the requirements of a range of accessibility needs in a variety of locations
  2. A large variety of financing options (both debt and equity) and financing terms, including banks, institutional investors, high net worth individuals, families of tenants, developers and other innovative forms of financing (e.g. social infrastructure bonds) underpinned by a good understanding of the vacancy risk
  3. A transparent portal allowing consumers to locate and adequately assess available SDA dwellings and property managers (or developers) of SDA dwellings to identify potential tenants
  4. A stable and transparent regulatory regime that encourages investment, including supportive planning and zoning regulations, release of government land in suitable locations, privacy protections for tenants, and secure tenancy laws supporting the rights of tenants and enabling appropriate and efficient dispute-resolution processes with property managers and owners
  5. A strong understanding of the SDA regime by all market players, including certainty of SDA pricing, scope and availability of SDA rental payments, potential tenants for housing in various locations and cost of building SDA compliant dwellings
  6. Efficiency and safety in providing disability support services in SDA dwellings, including consideration of geographic location and close alignment and coordination between SDA owners and property managers, disability service providers and tenants and their families.

This paper also share lessons learned from other markets, some related (community housing) and some not (financial deregulation) and what to look out for as the SDA market matures.

This report is the start, rather than the end of the conversation. PwC and the Summer Foundation welcome feedback and reflections from across the community on how to achieve the vision for housing in the NDIS.

Contact us

Richard Lorenzo
Tel: +61 (2) 8266 1678

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