Dealflow | July 23, 2018

OPIC commits $50 million to Avenida Capital for affordable housing in Colombia

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, July 23 – New York and Bogotá-based Avenida Capital is a real estate investor that backs urban developments in Latin America. OPIC is committing $50 million to the firm to support new affordable housing developments for low- and middle-income residents in Colombia’s cities.

Seventy-five percent of Colombia’s 45 million citizens live in urban areas. Stark economic and demographic changes since 2000, including a large low-income population (almost 40%) but decreasing poverty levels and a growing middle class, have put pressure on city residential supply. OPIC states that there is a housing shortage of three million units in Colombia.

“Like many parts of the world, Colombia has a significant need for housing and public spaces to support a growing population of people living and working in urban areas,” OPIC’s Ryan Brennan said in a statement.

OPIC’s investment in Avenida, which does not describe itself as an impact investor, also permits the company to invest in retail and mixed-use developments.

Building new, affordably-priced housing isn’t always a sufficient solution to city housing problems, however. Other factors like location of housing and availability of other city resources have a significant impact on the success of affordable housing projects. Colombia has examples of creative solutions to improving city infrastructure and resource for its low-income residents, like Medellin’s escalators and gondolas connecting hillside slums to the city center.