Maryland State Retirement and Pension System has become the second US pension fund to invest in JP Morgan Asset Management’s residential development fund targeting Sun Belt states in the US.

The $100m (€82.1m) commitment to the JP Morgan Sunbelt Residential Fund I, revealed in a board meeting report, follows an investment by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) earlier this year.

It means that JP Morgan is now at least 40% of the way to raising $500m for the fund. JP Morgan did not respond to a request for comment.

According to industry sources, investors are increasingly focusing on the Sun Belt region due to a positive outlook for jobs and population growth.

The fund will build, lease and sell assets to core investors over a five-year investment period.

Markets likely to be targeted by the fund include Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and South Florida, according to TCRS.

Target net returns are between 14% and 16%.

The investment will form part of Maryland State Retirement’s opportunistic real estate portfolio.