Nuveen’s Private Markets Impact Investing Report highlights its approach to impact investing and how they built their impact strategy over the last decade. Together with the real estate impact investing case studies, the report illustrates how to create a theory of change for impact evaluation and an example of building a responsible exit strategy.
Theory of Change
Nuveen created a robust Theory of Change connecting its investments to its overarching goal, “to create or preserve safe, affordable, and sustainable housing for low-income individuals and families”. To develop its ToC, Nuveen identified the challenges it seeks to address and the specific types of impact it intends to achieve. Through this process, Nuveen’s team recognized that its impact investment strategy for affordable housing encompasses several sub-strategies creating impact across multiple dimensions beyond access to affordable housing, such as access to social services related to financial inclusion, health and education, and building sustainability.
Nuveen’s U.S. affordable housing strategy aims to increase access to sustainable, safe and affordable housing for underserved and low-income communities.
In 2018, Nuveen invested in Shore Hill Senior Community, an affordable senior housing community located in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, NY. The complex includes studio and one-bedroom rental units and tenants pay no more than 30% of their income towards rent.
As affordability restrictions were due to expire in a few years, there was the threat that a traditional investor could have bought the asset to profit from a sizeable rental uplift when exchanging tenants and modernising housing units. To counter this, Nuveen extended the affordability restrictions, which kept rent costs 45% below market rate for the tenants.