Catella Asset Management Iberia (CAMI) is poised for a major expansion in Spain’s residential market over the next six months, the manager said today as it announced the acquisition of 171 social housing units.

The real estate manager, on behalf of the German fund Catella European Residential Fund I (CER l), has paid €27m to buy the rental units in the Central Park of Engineering, in the Villaverde district of Madrid.

The assets include four new-built buildings with 171 apartments in one, two and three-bedroom formats, with the same number of parking spaces.

The latest investment in Villaverde is the CER I fund’s first investment in Spain.

The CER I fund is managed by Catella Residential Investment Management. The fund has a gross asset value of €1.3bn and is invested in 6 European countries.

CAMI said it plans to complete the purchase of 191 rental homes of one, two, three bedrooms in Valdemoro, in the first quarter of 2020.

The manager is also in advanced negotiations with residential property owners and developers to acquire a further 600 homes, which would bring the Spanish portfolio up to a total of 1,600 rental units within six months.

Eduardo Guardiola, director and partner of Catella Asset Management Iberia, said Catella is poised for a major expansion in its Spanish residential investment portfolio over the next six months, underpinned by the rental market’s solid fundamentals.

“Younger people, in particular, are finding it increasingly unaffordable to own their own properties and are generally more flexible and mobile in being prepared to move to different cities for work than the previous generation.

“We anticipate that this strong demand for rental homes will increasingly attract larger investors and managers and lead to greater consolidation and professionalism in the fragmented Spanish residential investment market.”