Barings Real Estate has entered the UK private rented sector (PRS) with the acquisition of a 240 unit multifamily property from Moorfield Group.

Barings has bought The Keel at Queens Dock in Liverpool for £46.8m (€52.6m). The investment has been made as part of Barings’ pan European core investment strategy on behalf of institutional investors.

The real estate manager said the acquisition also includes an adjacent plot of land which is fully consented for PRS development.

The Keel is comprised of 240 apartments across 170,500sqft arranged over ground and four floors.

Formerly Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ Liverpool office, The Keel was recently converted to a high-quality mid-market residential apartments.

Darren Hutchinson, the managing director and head of UK real estate transactions at Barings, said: “This transaction presents a rare opportunity to acquire a well located operating PRS asset in an iconic building on Liverpool’s riverside.

“We believe there is an opportunity to add value through leasing up the vacant apartments and capturing rental reversion as a number of short-term leases in The Keel expire.”

Hutchinson said Barings believes the UK PRS sector, and the regional mid-market sector, in particular, is at the beginning of a period of sustained growth.

“We have extensive experience managing and investing in multifamily properties in the US and our acquisition of the Keel is a great start to our strong ambitions to expand that expertise to the UK.”

Charles Ferguson-Davie, Moorfield’s CIO, said: “The Keel was one of the first PRS/BTR projects delivered in the UK and we are proud to have been at the forefront of this new and emerging sector.

“We will now be looking to identify new opportunities on behalf of our new fund, which achieved a first close in October 2017.”

Property company Glenbrook will continue their association with The Keel following their original role as scheme developer. Glenbrook introduced the scheme to Barings and will partner with them on the asset management of The Keel and the development of the remaining consented land.