Can catalytic capital break the financial deadlock of affordable housing in Central and Southeastern Europe?

MOBA is glad to announce that it is part of a consortium of organisations that looks at the potential of catalytic capital (investment capital that is patient, risk-tolerant, and rather flexible) to kick-start affordable housing.

At focus is the housing sector in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (ESEE), where for many years, housing has become increasingly unaffordable to a significant part of the population. In parallel, there is an increasing need for investment in sustainable housing solutions to address the climate crisis. Due to a lack of systematic public engagement in ESEE, the development of innovative housing solutions strongly relies on independent housing organisations. These organisations face important difficulties in accessing finance, mainly due to the risk-aversion of existing housing finance institutions in the region.

The Catalytic Capital Consortium’s (C3) Grantmaking program – housed at and administered the New Venture Fund (NVF) now has provided the support to take a deeper look into the potential of catalytic investments in this field. In total, C3 has awarded 14 research proposals from universities, nonprofits and collaborations spanning seven countries. The aim of C3 is thus to enable social and environmental progress that would not otherwise be possible.

The research MOBA now participates in looks at both EU and non-EU countries – 8 countries altogether, with 4 selected as core research countries, including Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia. Access to innovative forms of housing finance is quasi nonexistent in all target countries. We firmly believe that if patient or catalytic capital were to systematically endow the housing sector of the region, then this would allow new, innovative housing providers to consolidate their activities, meaning that the sector of permanently affordable housing – ranging from limited equity cooperative housing to more conventional forms of rental housing – can finally come to life and expand in this part of Europe. This, in turn, would mean access to housing for social groups currently excluded from the housing market. In the research we will uncover the characteristics of both the demand-side and the supply-side of this sector and will also identify the bottlenecks that need to be overcome for the two sides to meet.

Consortium members:

Periféria Policy and Research Center
Budapest, Hungary

IŠSP – Institute for Studies of Housing and Space (Inštitut za Študije Stanovanj in prostora), 
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Who Builds the City (Ko gradi grad), 
Belgrade, Serbia

Right to the City (Pravo na grad),
Zagreb, Croatia

Nadácia Habitat for Humanity International, Slovakia
office of HFHI Europe, Middle East and Africa

ZEF – Cooperative for Ethical finance (Zaduga za etično financiranje), 
Zagreb, Croatia

MOBA Housing SCE