US - New York City (NYC) comptroller William Thompson has urged some of the country's largest pension funds to follow the NYC's pension funds in taking steps to create and retain affordable housing.
"However, it is my firm conviction that it is possible to pursue long term growth of pension assets, while at the same time taking an active role in maintaining affordable housing and protecting tenants that live in affordable housing buildings."
Thompson noted last autumn housing advocates brought to his attention the trend of rapidly rising sales prices and quick sales among subsidised, formerly subsidised and rent-stabilised residential properties, including buildings in which NYC had investment interests.
In February 2008, after working with housing advocates, the NYC pension funds expanded their commitment to the preservation and creation of affordable housing in the city by enacting a residential real estate investment principle.
The city's pension funds have assets totaling more than $108bn, with $1.8bn invested in commercial and residential real estate.
The funds include the New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS), Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS), New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS).
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