Netherlands’ largest pension fund ABP is progressing with its €5bn affordable housing investment plan by partnering with Greystar in a €420m rental properties development venture.

ABP, through its asset management arm APG has teamed up with the living sector real estate investment firm to launch the Dutch Essential Housing Venture, a partnership seeded with a 780-apartment project in Leiden expected to be complete in 2027.

The project will be developed by Ten Brinke Lubro Ontwikkeling.

The companies said the venture’s initial commitment of €420m is expected to deliver around 1,500 homes in the Randstad area and other large cities with a “significant portion of the units regulated based on municipal requirements or self-regulation [capped rents]”.

Earlier this year, the €502bn pension fund ABP announced it was allocating €30bn to impact investments, €5bn of which will go to the building of new affordable housing in the Netherlands.

APG’s latest partnership with Greystar builds on the two firms’ relationship which has seen the Dutch manager invest in the living sector, gaining an exposure to Asia and US markets.

Harmen van Wijnen, chairman of ABP, said: “ABP wants to work together to build a good pension in a livable world. To achieve this, we look for attractive long-term investments, preferably ones that make a difference in the lives of our participants. That is why we aim to invest €10bn with impact in the Netherlands by 2030, of which approximately €5bn in residential properties.

“The Netherlands has a housing shortage, and our participants experience this too. With this initiative, which will initially cost €400m, we will add approximately 1,300 to 1,500 affordable homes, including in the city of Leiden. Homes that our participants who work for the police, in education and for the government can live in. This investment pays out twice to our participants.”

Robert-Jan Foortse, the head of real estate Europe at APG, said: “APG and Greystar have established many successful partnerships around the world over the past 15 years. We are very pleased that our first venture together in Europe is in our home market, the Netherlands, with a focus on developing new affordable residential units while targeting key workers as tenants.

“Our largest client ABP has identified this specific segment of their portfolio as a key area in which their investments can make a positive contribution on the lives of the participants in the pension fund.”

Mark Kuijpers, senior managing director of Central Europe at Greystar, said: “The Essential Housing Venture will invest Dutch institutional capital back into major employment hubs in the Netherlands to solve a real issue in the domestic housing market.

“Mid-income earners are struggling to access high quality and sustainable rental housing, as they are increasingly priced out of the competitive rental market yet are unable to access social housing. Real impact is only achieved if the right product is delivered at scale.” 

Wes Fuller, Greystar’s CIO, said: “Through our partnership with ABP and APG, we’re moving forward with an exciting opportunity to bring much needed housing to mid-income earners in the Netherlands.

“As a company, we are incredibly passionate about and highly focused on providing new high-quality housing supply at attainable price points to cities around the world, and we look forward to bringing that experience to the Netherlands in partnership with ABP and APG.”

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