This paper looks at award winning social housing schemes from across the world. The awards are either for the schemes’ achievement in sustainability or/and architectural design. The term sustainability comprises: economic, environmental and social factors. The schemes are ranked according to the number of awards received and selected best cases from varied regions: Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. The aim was to identify emerging ‘best practice’ best practice in the area of social housing in completely different markets. The highest ranked cases were analysed within the economic and government structures in which they were developed. In this analysis, their best and worst features were uncovered. The aim was to draw a set of recommendations from global best practice in social housing which to be useful reference for policymakers at central, regional or local level – these recommendations will be presented. From a real estate perspective, the analysis reveals that the area of social housing design is rapidly becoming one of the most fast moving and creative areas of real estate, which merits much more attention from investors and academics.