Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors and CBRE Global Investment Partners (GIP) have teamed up with Belgian real estate developer ION to invest €280m in affordable housing.

Bouwinvest, which invests internationally on behalf of Dutch pension fund BpfBouw, and CBRE GIP, on behalf of one of its clients, will be equal investment partners while ION will take a minority interest and act as service provider.

The ION Residential Platform (IRP) will have an initial investment capacity of €280m, with the expectation this may increase over time, the companies said in a joint statement.

IRP will focus primarily on Belgium’s largest urban areas. Projects will be sourced from ION’s development pipeline and will also be supplemented with acquisitions from other developers. The platform plans to make a number of purchases in the coming months.

Jasper Petit, a senior portfolio manager in charge of European investments at Bouwinvest, said: “Affordable housing as an asset class offers an interesting opportunity to create value in both financial and social terms. The fundamentals for this investment are strong due to ongoing urbanisation and a growing housing shortage in urban areas.

”We are keen to expand our investments in this segment given the sustained demand and lower risk level and are excited to pursue this particular strategy together with ION and CBRE GIP.”

Robert Koot, director of European investments at Bouwinvest, said: “This investment will enable us to strengthen our presence in Belgium and in particular, the largest cities.

”It also contributes to Bouwinvest’s objectives of achieving a solid long-term return in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.”

Line Verroken, senior investment manager, CBRE Global Investment Partners, said: “Providing affordable and high-quality sustainable housing is one of our key objectives and preferred investment strategies throughout Europe.

”This investment will allow us to play into that strategy in a defensive market with very strong long-term fundamentals. We are pleased to be partnering with ION and Bouwinvest to build an attractive product and a strong platform.”

Casper van Grieken, the head of CBRE Capital Advisors Netherlands, said: “We are convinced that the combination of Bouwinvest and CBRE GIP’s global residential investment experience combined with ION’s pipeline, sustainability knowledge and local expertise will lead to wonderful results.

”The Belgian residential investment market is very interesting and this step gives a further boost to the market.”

Davy Demuynck and Kristof Vanfleteren, co-CEOs of ION, said: “The launch of this joint venture is a next step in the development of ION, as an investor-developer. We believe in the Belgian rental market and have the ambition of achieving significant growth.

”The partnership with two leading institutional investors will allow us to realise our ambitions more quickly. By combining each other’s expertise, we will be able to grow rapidly and maximise our focus on sustainability and innovation in this new market.”

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