Q&A with Natalie Couper
“Childcare is a care base service that cannot be replicated or replaced by technology, only enhanced.”
Q. What made you interested in the childcare division?
A. “From my first childcare divestment, I was intrigued and have fallen in love with the diversity of the sector. Childcare has many layers, it’s a unique investment, that intrinsically links landlord and tenant. Childcare has a diverse set of stakeholders that play an essential and key role in its continued performance and success.
The State and Federal Governments’ vital support in providing families affordable access to early education and care cannot be underestimated. The Department of Education’s mandatory assessment of the building and the quality of service each year, is like having an extra set of eyes looking over your investment.”
Q. During COVID, childcare assets were one of the strongest investments to buy into. Now, in the later half of 2022, do you think the childcare sector is just as strong?
A. “Childcare has always been a highly sought-after investment choice, COVID has further highlighted its resilience as an investment option. It was one of the first sectors to receive specific government funding ahead of big business. Childcare property investment is an excellent ‘defensive’ option which is less affected by economic cycles than other property sectors. These factors coupled with high performing tenant on long leases make for a compelling investment.”
Q. What can we expect to see out of the childcare sector over the next five years?
A. “Key drivers in the next five years that will remain unchanged include; bipartisan Federal and State Government support. The economic benefit of parents returning to the workforce will amplify in a high employment environment and escalate values and investment.
The renewed focus on immigration coupled with all-time largest income tax inflows will drive investors focus on this sector. Supply will be required to meet the increased demand and that will underpin the sector.”
Q. Essential service assets are one of the safest investments to buy into. What else does Childcare assets bring to the table that make them stand out?
A. “Appetite for investments offering robust landlord-friendly lease terms, including blanket recovery of landlord expenses and quality tenants sets this sector apart. This is the only sector that caters for all levels of investors from $1m to $20m, making it attainable for a greater cross section of commercial investors. Childcare is a care base service that cannot be replicated or replaced by technology, only enhanced.”
Q. You’ve sold 282 childcare centres in 6 years. What property stands out to you most? Why?
A. “My favourite centre I have sold was Hei Hei School in Waurn Ponds. It was designed and crafted in collaboration with Finnish architects. The quality, feel and experience was incredible and like no other centre I have ever sold.”