Australia’s first build-to-rent (BTR) real estate debt fund, managed by Qualitas, has invested A$120m (€75m) in a Brisbane project as its maiden deal.

The Qualitas Build-to-Rent Impact Debt Fund (QBIF) has invested in the Cordelia project in the Queensland capital. Developer Arklife will operate the Qualitas Brisbane project of 265 apartments.

Tim Johansen, Qualitas global head of capital, told IPE Real Assets that Cordelia was significant for the fund as it would demonstrate to new investors what QBIF stood for through its lending programme.

“Our view is that, because BTR is such a new asset class in Australia, we needed a first deal for investors to see how a transaction is put together.”

Apart from risk and return, he said, Qualitas felt that investors would want to know how the fund’s sustainability criteria could be achieved. The project would achieve this.

“We thought it was appropriate that we bring in assets to fund a seed loan,” Johansen said.

“Based on that, we can move on with the second phase of our marketing and continue to raise capital.”

He said QBIF had a target of raising A$1bn and was currently talking to domestic and global institutions interested in the concept of sustainable BTR projects.

As previously reported, Australia’s green bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, is a cornerstone investor, with A$125m commitment.

Johansen said QBIF was currently evaluating half a dozen projects, which would require debt of between A$900m and A$1bn collectively.

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