UNITED STATES - The €83bn Dutch healthcare pension fund PGGM has linked up with US property investor Behringer Harvard in a €74m co-investment deal.

Under the agreement, PGGM will invest in a geographically diverse portfolio of apartment communities in top US metropolitan areas with Behringer Harvard or in one of the firm’s current investment programs.

"Target assets will consist of well-located ‘class A’ multi-family communities, purchased from reputable national and regional developers before the properties achieve stabilised occupancies," the investment firm has stated.

According to Behringer Harvard, it will provide strategic management for each joint venture, including acquisition, asset management and disposition of services, legal and accounting services, and property management services.

Key investments sought are expected to be traditional multifamily residential properties, such as garden, mid-rise or high-rise apartment communities, Mark Alfieri, senior vice-president real estate for Behringer Harvard, explained.

"Each project will be a planned property, or a newly developed one that has not yet reached a specified occupancy level," said Alfieri.

"We will be looking for projects, which enable us to create added value in areas, such as project development, completion of project leasing, changing property management or leasing agents, providing additional capital to add or complete amenities, or combining projects to achieve economies of scale," he added.

Behringer Harvard invests in real estate assets both domestically and internationally. Last year, it announced an alliance with German real estate firm HCI Capital AG to co-invest up to €960m in projects in Western Europe, focusing on Germany, the Netherlands and England.

Elsewhere, chairman Onno Breur of the Dutch Association of Institutional Investors in Real Estate (VIBV), said many members are considering leaving the ‘overregulated’ domestic residential market, in favour of more attractive investments abroad.

Additional reasons for a move are said to be the expansion of the operational area of building societies and the "unequal playing field" as a result, alongside pure investment return issues.

"Since property investments have rapidly become international, there is a real danger that the allocation in the domestic rental market will decrease," the VIBV chairman said.