Greystar Real Estate Partners is launching an Asia-Pacific residential investment platform with Macquarie Capital.

The joint venture will be the latest move by Greystar, the biggest apartment operator in the US, to create a global rental housing business.

Greystar Asia-Pac will look to apply its experience in the US – and more recently Europe – to Australia, Japan and China – three markets that Macquarie Capital, the principal investment arm of Macquarie Group, already has a presence in.

Both parties are expected to bring sovereign wealth and pension fund groups into the venture.

In what is believed to be a 50-50 partnership with Macquarie, Greystar is understood to be looking to replicate its recent approach to the London market, where it has a development pipeline of more than 2,500 rental units.

Industry sources told IPE Real Estate that Greystar uses forward funding to acquire its rental stock in London – a model that could work in Australia where developers are finding it harder to source bank financing for projects.

Greystar will be targeting opportunities to fund projects and take over management of the buildings on completion, one source said.

Macquarie Capital, meanwhile, has raised close to US$8bn (€7.3bn) over the past five years for student accommodation and multifamily housing in a number of markets.

The company has identified an opportunity in Australia due to the lack of institutional landlords in the country and a gap in long-term rental properties.

Residential rental growth in Australian capital cities has risen by more than 4% on average each year over the past 20 years.

“Australia has very attractive fundamentals for multi-family,” the source said. “The country is highly urbanised, and, due largely to strong immigration, its overall population growth is among the highest in the developed world.”

Greystar Asia-Pac will also seek to establish a presence in Australia’s budding student housing market.

The venture will also invest in Japanese multifamily housing, a more mature market where real estate investment trusts (REITs) are already active.

It will target cities like Tokyo and Osaka where populations are still growing despite an ageing population at the national level.

It will also look at emerging opportunities in China, where authorities have been implementing initiatives to support the sector.