As the dust settles on the chaos of the recent banking crisis many investors have begun to feel that their portfolios should include a broad range of less risky investments. A growing number of those are also waking up to the possibility that ethical investments could also have a part to play in this mix. For many ethical investments are, by their very nature, less risky than investments that compromise the quality of life for someone, somewhere. When the backlash comes from that someone, then the penalty is likely to be a dip in the value of that investment.
Housing Co-operatives have been quietly rising in Refurbishment services london popularity in both Europe and the USA recently. As property prices have fallen and jobs have become less secure many people have found themselves being forced out of the housing market altogether as far as individual ownership is concerned. As more couples find themselves splitting up, more individuals are looking for a roof over their heads on one salary when two are needed to cover a mortgage on even a small house.
Although once regarded in the sixties and seventies as a haven for hippies and drop-outs, a Housing Co-operative nowadays is more likely to be filled with teachers, nurses, permaculture consultants, green-energy advisers and other energetic members of the professional classes who have found a way to live that fits in with their ethical lifestyle and social habits.
Every Housing Co-operative in the UK, for example, is able to issue loanstock to the general public if they are a fully mutual, Industrial and Provident Society. This status allows them to raise money to purchase houses, refurbish them and equip them with heat pumps, solar energy collectors, increased insulation or whatever other project they wish to raise money for to bring benefit to their members and their communities, by issuing their own, individually sealed certificates that pay a fixed rate of interest on a specified amount over a set number of years. The amount of interest paid is negotiable to allow them to raise the necessary finance for their projects. A term of five years is the usual offering.
Since Housing Co-operatives provide low-rent social housing for their tenants and the rules of their fully mutual status strive towards equality of their members, no Ethical Fund will have problems in establishing the completely ethical nature of an investment in their projects. As far as safety and low-risk is concerned, all the members of the community have an interest in making certain that the loans are repayed on time and in full since their status could be revoked if they did not and they could lose the security of their home. The fact that many people are sharing their home together reduces the risk of them losing it.