EUROPE - Hub Residential has set up a £100m (€120m) venture that will aim to "unlock" London's residential development.

The venture, which will be based in central London and be managed by Robert Sloss and Tim Barlow, is seeking to alleviate some of the pressure on the capital's housing supply by "unlocking" the development process.

Sloss, founding partner, said: "Hub has raised £100m of unencumbered equity entirely committed to unlocking London's residential development logjam. We are actively seeking development sites and partners to help us invest prudently."

Meanwhile, JC Flowers has backed a new business called Castle Trust, which plans to offer retail and institutional investors access to UK house-price returns linked to the Halifax House Price index.

Currently awaiting UK regulatory approval, Castle Trust also seeks to share equity mortgages that improve affordability and share the costs and risks of home ownership.

Elsewhere in the UK, the estate agency and property services provider Connells Group has acquired a 25% stake in residential property fund manager Hearthstone Investments for £2m.
Hearthstone is a new fund management business established to provide retail and institutional investors with access to collective investment in residential property.
Moving to France, the pan-European real estate investment manager AEW Europe has raised €1.5bn in fresh capital commitments in a number of new separate accounts and funds managed by the company.  

AEW Europe is currently working on a number of new investment initiatives ranging from debt strategies through to real estate sector-focused funds.

The company has started capital fundraising for its logistics fund, Logistis, which owns a portfolio of Grade-A assets with a value of €1bn.

AEW is also launching a new private equity real estate fund, which will focus on the distressed market and lack of debt funding in Europe.

Finally, the European multi-let real estate investment manager Valad has announced the financing of a €300m senior debt facility for its European High Income Fund (EHI).

Valad also announced an extension of the life of the fund for a further four years.

The facility is jointly underwritten by a group of banks, including BAWAG PSK (Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft und Österreichische Postsparkasse AG), Helaba, Natixis (Natixis Zweigniederlassung Deutschland) and pbb.

The refinanced EHI portfolio comprises 63 light industrial assets, with 18 being located in Germany, 21 in France and 24 in the Netherlands.