Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors is investing in Irish social and affordable rental housing via Ardstone Capital’s new open-ended fund.

Bouwinvest, which invests internationally on behalf of Dutch pension fund BpfBouw, said it has made a €75m commitment on behalf of its European mandate to the Ardstone fund.

Ardstone’s new open-ended fund invests in both social and affordable housing, primarily in Dublin but also in fast-growing commuter towns and employment hubs in its surrounding counties. Since launching in January 2021, the fund has committed to acquire €550m worth of assets, with further deals totalling €300m set to be signed in the second quarter of the year.

Donal O’Neill, CEO of Ardstone, said: “We have been highly active in the residential market for the past five years delivering housing for the social, rental, and owner-occupier sectors.

“In doing so, we have demonstrated the positive contribution that high-quality, institutional capital partners such as Bouwinvest can make towards the solution to Ireland’s housing shortage.”

Bouwinvest’s latest transaction follows investments earlier this year for its European mandate in affordable housing in Scandinavia and Belgium.

Robert Koot, director European investments at Bouwinvest, said: “Dublin is by no means alone in experiencing a shortage of suitable accommodation for lower and middle-income earners, with many developed cities around the world facing similar issues. At Bouwinvest, we adjust our affordable housing strategy in line with the needs of each individual market.

“In addition to affordability, sustainability is a key pillar of the residential investments we’ve made in recent years, such as those in France, Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Nordics. Affordability and sustainability are also high on Ardstone’s agenda in Ireland.”

Jasper Petit, a senior portfolio manager Europe at Bouwinvest, said: “Specialists like Ardstone, who have boots on the ground, give us local market knowledge and access to the increasingly sought-after affordable and social rental housing asset class.

“In our home market, the Netherlands, there is a huge shortage of rental accommodation in the mid-range and social segment. A similar situation exists in Dublin. That supply/demand imbalance in Dublin is precisely what we are targeting with our investment, as this enables us to create value in both social and financial terms.”

Bouwinvest said it aims to increase its institutional European mandate’s assets under management to €1.8bn by the end of 2023, from €1.1bn at the end of 2020.

The mandate has a core investment style, with its strategy focused mainly on major metropolitan areas in Europe across a range of property sectors, including residential, offices, hotels, retail and logistics.

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