Savills Investment Management has bolstered its European living platform with the acquisition of a majority stake in a UK affordable housing provider.

The international real estate investment manager has invested an undisclosed sum to buy the majority share in Simply Affordable Homes from Centrus Financial, which will retain a stake. The deal includes the acquisition of Simply Affordable Homes RP, a registered social housing provider.

Following the acquisition, Savills IM said it intends to launch a UK affordable housing fund early next year.

The UK Affordable Housing Fund intends to invest in both shared ownership and affordable and social rent housing by acquiring existing stock from housing associations and also creating new stock through acquisitions and forward funding deals.

The Simply Affordable Homes deal follows Savills IM’s recent acquisition of UK residential developer Pitmore, a transaction which was made to strengthen Savills IM’s resources and expertise in the residential space.

Savills IM said the latest deal, together with the Pitmore acquisition, will enable the firm to consider a wide range of both private and affordable housing opportunities across the UK.

Alex Jeffrey, CEO of Savills IM, said: “People in the UK face serious housing challenges, especially as regards affordability. Institutions can play an important part in helping to bridge this gap whilst providing attractive returns for their beneficiaries.

“This acquisition and subsequent fund launch will allow investors to gain access to this high-quality asset class and be a means of meeting their own commitments to socially responsible investment.”

Keith Exford, chairman of Simply Affordable Homes RP, said: “This acquisition will allow Savills IM to raise the funds to grow Simply Affordable Homes RP.

“Our board and management team is comprised of people with a deep-rooted commitment to affordable housing and extensive practical experience. Our business is intended to support the delivery of new homes by private developers and Housing Associations, rather than compete with them for new supply.”

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