GLOBAL - The $147bn (€106bn) New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) has committed $300m to Simpson Housing LLLP, a real estate firm whose current portfolio consists of more than 16,000 class A and B apartment homes in 13 states.

Established in 1948, Simpson will provide development and property management for the joint venture, which includes four of Simpson's existing multi-family assets - comprising 1,105 units - and will expand to include additional assets.

CRF is being advised on this venture by La Salle Investment Management.

Also in August, CRF committed $8m to affordable housing communities in Saratoga Springs, NY, and in Poughkeepsie, NY.

These investments are in keeping with CRF's strategy to reduce volatility and lower risk by investing in joint ventures with established operators and managers.

CRF's current partners include Avalon Bay (a class-A apartment community in New York City with an affordable housing component), Boston Properties (acquisitions and development of office properties), Fairfield Residential (multi-family communities), Templeton Investments (a fund of Funds), General Growth Properties (regional malls), KIMCO (shopping centres and single retail properties), Liberty Property Trust (warehouse properties in Chicago, as well as class-A office space in Washington, DC), Loews Hotels (luxury hotels and resorts), Post Properties (class-A multi-family communities), Prologis Trust (an industrial portfolio in southern California) and Shurgard Europe (a self-storage portfolio in Europe). 

CRF invests 5-6% of its total assets in the real estate sector.

The third-largest pension plan in the US, it invests on behalf of more than 1m New York State employees and retirees. 

Over the last year, the real estate unit, headed by Michael Reilly, has seen a 26.7% return. Over the last 10 years, the return has hovered around 10%.