Ilmarinen has started its push into global real estate markets by entering into joint ventures in US housing and the Belgian office market.

The €34bn Finnish pension insurance company said it is building a portfolio of 400 residential units across the Atlantic, and has taken a 50% stake in Brussels office tower.

The institution has been planning to diversify its €4.5bn real estate exposure globally over the past 18 months. The majority of its property investments are in Finland.

In November, 2013, deputy CEO and CIO Timo Ritakallio told IP Real Estate that it would do this by entering into joint ventures.

Ilmarinen has started investing in US the residential market with Aalto Invest.

The joint venture partners plan to build 400 single-family homes in 10 metropolitan areas in the Midwest and southern states in the country.

Mikko Antilo, portfolio manager at Ilmarinen, said: “The US housing market is making a comeback after hitting rock bottom a few years ago.

“This gives long-term investors like us an excellent opportunity to secure stable and predictable returns.”

Ilmarinen has invested in companies Bastion Tower I and II, which own the Bastion Tower in Brussels, alongside an unnamed French institutional investor.

Schroder Real Estate advised on the acquisition and will manage the 26-storey, 35,000sqm building.