High financial performance investment property

NDIS-SDA Property Investment

An introduction to NDIS-SDA Housing

SDA housing is funded by the NDIS to provide 'participants' with a choice of homes that meets their specific needs, situation, and lifestyle.

NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is a collaboration between the Commonwealth Government and all State and Territory Governments and is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA - Commonwealth).

The NDIS provides housing payments for people with disabilities who need housing designed to maximise their independence and choice. This housing payment, as well as the bricks-and-mortar dwelling, is called SDA.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is housing that has been specially designed to suit the needs of people with disability who have an ‘extreme functional impairment’ or ‘very high support needs’. The specialised features of an SDA property are intended to support the resident(s) to live as independently as possible and in so doing reduce their lifetime support costs.

SDA payments are determined by NDIA based on a number of factors including location, property type, design category, and the number of participants residing in the home. 

Within the NDIS, SDA payments have been budgeted at $700 million p.a. (indexed) for 20 years. This provides a high level of certainty and confidence to both participants and investors.

Participant Focus

Clear focus on the needs of the customer - Participants.

The NDIA and leading professionals and organisations in the SDA sector worked closely together to raise standards and adopt a continuous improvement program with the SDA Innovation Plan that focuses on the participant, the customer of the program. This commitment drives a requirement for developers and builders supplying homes into the SDA pool to also have a focus on the participant and a commitment to continuous improvement. 

Participants want choice. They want to be able to choose where they live, how they live, and who they live with. Traditionally, choice has not been on offer for people with disabilities and specialist support needs. It has been a matter of taking whatever is available. Thankfully, with NDIS SDA homes rolling out, that is starting to change.

As the supply of SDA homes increases, participants will have more choices. Homes that are more amenable to the specific needs of participants will be more sought-after and deliver higher returns and mitigate risk for investors. It is therefore imperative that new SDA homes are in the right places, are the right type, and built to the right design category to meet participant needs in any community. 

Looking forward, as SDA housing evolves and matures, those homes that are best-suited to the needs of participants and sit clearly above 'minimum' design standards will prove to be in more demand than sub-standard homes that 'just' meet regulations and standards.


SDA Homes

A matrix structured to match participant needs with homes that meet their needs.

SDA homes are defined by 'building types' and 'design categories'. 

Building Types includes;

  • Apartment
  • Villa/Duplex/Townhouse
  • House/Dwelling
  • Group Homes

All building types must include kitchen, bathroom, living/dining area, entrance/exit and at least one bedroom.

There are 4 SDA Design Categories that focus on specific segments within the market with minimum requirements as defined by LHA (Livable Housing Australia) for certification at each respective level. 

Improved Livability

Housing that has been designed to improve 'livability' by incorporating a reasonable level of physical access and enhanced provision for people with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment.  

Minimum Requirements - LHA 'Silver Level'.

Fully Accessible

Housing that has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision for people with significant physical impairment.

Minimum Requirements - LHA 'Platinum Level'.


Housing that has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision and be very resilient, while reducing the likelihood of reactive maintenance and reducing the risk to the participant and the community.

Minimum Requirements - LHA - 'Silver Level'.

High Physical Support

Housing has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision for people with significant physical impairment and requiring very high levels of support.

Minimum Requirements - LHA - 'Platinum Level'.

Pre-certification of all new SDA homes, as well as an SDA Design Standard, apply to all SDA properties enrolled in the NDIS after July 1, 2021. The new regulations are consistent with the commitment of the NDIA to ensure ongoing improvement and a focus on participants.


$12 Billion Housing Market

Demand exceeds supply. New SDA homes needed for over 19,000 participants over the next 10 years.

Based on NDIA data, more than 28,000 people are currently eligible for SDA housing funding. This translates into potential demand for 12,000 additional new housing places for people with disability and a further 16,000 places requiring refurbishment or to be rebuilt. A total of $12 billion of capital will be required to meet this demand with an estimated $5 billion of this being a new investment. 

In the Specialist Disability Accommodation / Supply in Australia report for 2021 released by Housing Hub and Summer Foundation the outlook is that 'once the unmet demand and the need to replace the old stock with contemporary models of disability housing is taken into account, new housing is needed for an estimated 19,000 participants over the next 10 years.

Australia’s specialist disability accommodation, or SDA, has been fragmented and underfunded, but the National Disability Insurance Scheme has been the catalyst to provide a new market for a better, more consistent level of quality accommodation that delivers a solid return for both private and institutional investors. We are seeing increased interest from major Australian and overseas investment funds in the SDA market including industry super funds and top 4 banks.


Emerging SDA Housing Trends

  • Participants want more one person homes
  • Over 75% of new homes coming online in 2021 are one resident dwelling
  • Summer Foundation and Housing Hub identify that the market is moving away from larger settings that accommodate multiple residents and instead are focusing on building SDA in smaller settings
  • More about the individual
  • Taking away the pressure of managing multiple personalities
  • Making it my home is the most important factor for participants
  • Apartments are over 50% of the market with houses at 21.2%, townhouses and villas at 17.9% and group homes falling to 6.5% with a reduction of 389 SDA places over the past 12 months.
  • High Physical Support design category is most prevalent and is looking to be over-supplied in some areas, particularly in multiple resident formats.


How SDA and NDIS work

  • SDA funding is included in the NDIS plans of eligible NDIS participants
  • SDA payments are made directly to the provider of the SDA property in which the participant lives
  • Amount paid determined by building type, SDA design category and location.
  • In addition to SDA payment from a participant's plan, the participant also pays Reasonable Rent Contribution to the landlord. The RRC is capped at 25% of the Disability Support Pension, plus rent assistance or equivalent - this totals around $8,550 p.a.
  • SDA has committed NDIA funds for 20 years
  • SDA is not about services, it is all about homes
  • Services and support are separate and authorities are actively pursuing a 'separation' of housing providers from care and services providers.





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