Patrizia Immobilien is investing €578m in a Dutch residential portfolio for a German pension fund, the largest deal in the sector’s history. 

Dutch housing association Vestia is selling the 5,500-unit portfolio to Patrizia’s WohnModul I fund. The vehicle was set up for a German pension fund in 2012, initially to invest in the German residential market.

The deal, which is expected to close by year-end, according to Patrizia’s chief operating officer Klaus Schmitt, comes two months after Patrizia announced it had opened a Dutch office.

Patrizia has a history of investing on behalf of a number of large German pension funds. Last year, it invested in German residential on behalf of WPV, the €2.3bn pension fund for German accountants.

The firm would not name the pension fund behind WohnModul I.

Patrizia said the Dutch acquisition made sense considering demographic changes that should maintain stable values in the 340,000sqm portfolio.

Growth, it added, is expected across all regions of the Netherlands until 2025 with significant demand for housing.

Vacancy in the portfolio is currently 3%, with around 70% of homes subject to rent control.

The portfolio’s property management team will transfer from Vestia to Patrizia.

In May this year, Patrizia announced plans to open a Dutch office, recruiting Peter Helfrich from CBRE Global Investors as managing director.

Patrizia currently has around €200m of real estate in the Netherlands. Helfrich, who will be based in Amsterdam, told IP Real Estate the timing was right for both the residential and commercial sectors.