Big Society Capital and Cardano are seeking investment strategy submissions for tackling the UK housing crisis

145,000 new social and affordable homes are needed each year, and over one million people are currently on a waiting list for social housing. With housing providers struggling to cover the shortfall, the UK housing crisis is one of the most critical social issues that needs addressing.


Request for Proposal

We are calling on real estate fund managers to submit their strategies for tackling the UK housing crisis. We have partnered with pensions advisory specialist Cardano to combine up to £195 million of potential investment to allocate to these strategies.

Please scroll to the bottom of this page for more information on how to submit your proposal alongside the Due Diligence Questionnaire Form.

Applications can be submitted up until close of business Friday 11 March 2022.

What we are looking for:

We’re seeking strategies that increase the supply of good quality, affordable housing in the UK – whilst also generating a market rate financial return. Applications should deliver on the following:

- Contribute to the UK’s social and affordable housing challenges.

- Deliver competitive risk-adjusted returns.

- Have the potential to raise capital at scale.

- Offer a best-in-class impact management approach.

- Have an experienced and mission-aligned team.

We are seeking proposals that are not only generating investor returns – but effectively responding to the needs of tenants and delivery organisations.

Gemma Bourne, Investment Director at Big Society Capital, says:

Social and affordable housing opportunities offer investors the potential to address this supply challenge, whilst offering risk-adjusted returns. Investment into these funds is growing, with Big Society Capital’s 2020 market sizing data valuing them at almost £3 billion – a huge increase from 2016 when the market was valued at £350 million. The social impact of these funds is set to be substantial, with the investments in Big Society Capital’s portfolio alone (we have invested £184 million to date) set to provide quality, affordable homes for 5,500 people. And we predict that this market will only continue to scale; reaching £8bn by 2025.

We are looking forward to receiving proposals that support this growth in a way that works for all stakeholders: the tenants who live in the homes; the delivery organisations such as charities and social enterprises who often lease them and provide tenant support; and our co-investors, who provide the additional capital to buy them. We hope that this will go some way to supporting the market in growing from strength to strength– whilst also transforming lives through providing affordable, high-quality homes for the people that need them.

Geordie Cox, Investment Manager at Cardano, says:

The investments we make or advise on for clients matter; they help provide financial stability to thousands of pensioners across the UK and Europe but they also impact the world these pensioners and their families live in, today and in the future.

Our clients are increasingly focused on what impact their investments are having on society and the environment. And so are we.

It’s why we invest sustainably across our portfolios and why we are going further; to deliberately target private investments that can provide our clients with strong contractual yield alongside measurable, positive social and environmental impact.

Nick Coogan, Investment Analyst at Cardano, says:

The social and affordable housing sector is an example of where we believe we can provide social impact, alongside financial returns for clients; positively improving communities by helping meet the growing need for social housing but at the same time deliver attractive risk-return through resilient, diversifying, cash-flows.

We’re excited about receiving proposals and hope the process will also provide other institutional investors with a roadmap to invest in the sector.

How to apply:

Please read the RfP Submission Guidance document below which details the scope, process and assessment criteria. To apply, fill out the Due Diligence Questionnaire (DDQ) form and once completed, email it with an investor presentation to by close of business on Friday 11 March 2022. This is stage 1 of a three-stage process.

You can read the FAQ document below for answers to the questions we have received from fund managers. Please send your intention to submit to by Wednesday 2 March 2022.

Watch our briefing webinar

We held a briefing webinar to explain more about the application process. In this webinar, the investment teams at Big Society Capital and Cardano explained the submissions process, and gave managers the opportunity to ask questions. Watch back here.