Global real estate investor Heitman has entered the UK build-to-rent (BTR) sector with site acquisitions and development funding deals.

The $42bn (€36.1bn) property manager has bought two sites and entered into an agreement to provide forward funding for two major residential developments in Manchester city centre and Liverpool.

Heitman said it has partnered with Brickland to develop the sites. BTR operator LIV Group will advise on the development and operate the assets upon completion in 2020.

The development in Manchester will consist of two towers of 16 and 19 storeys, featuring 363 one-and-two-bedroom units along with duplex and townhouse apartments. The nine-storey development in Liverpool will consist of 200 residential units comprised of up to three-bedroom units.

Tony Smedley, a managing director and the head of Heitman’s European private equity business said: “We are delighted to complete this acquisition in partnership with LIV, a best-in-class operator and the experienced development team at Brickland.

“The purchase is consistent with our strategy of investing in undersupplied sectors, growing urban environments and amenity-rich schemes that also provide a sense of community.”

Smedley added that the living sectors exhibit an attractive combination of stability and growth with defensive qualities underpinned by their long-term secular and structural characteristics.

“We are actively growing our allocation to these investment themes across Europe.”

Heitman, which manages more than 20,000 multifamily units globally, made the investment on behalf of an affiliate of the firm.

Brickland’s CEO Sam Rowlands, said: “This is a milestone for build-to-rent in these Northern Powerhouse cities.

“We are bringing forward exemplary private rental schemes without cutting corners where rents will be affordable to the mass market.”

Graham Bates, the CEO at LIV Group said: “We are proud to have worked on the design of these superb developments from an early stage and to have successfully worked with Heitman who are a visionary investment team looking to make a mark in the UK build-to-rent sector.”