Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance (SAREF) expects its residential mortgage portfolio to grow by at least €2bn, and invest as much as €800m in property next year.

In a clarification of its forecast, Henk Jagersma, Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance (SAREF) chief executive, said the manager would acquire several existing assets to meet its property target and that at least 90% of this would be financed by pension funds.

He said the same would go for residential mortgages, nothing that demand outstripped supply.

SAREF’s residential mortgage fund stands at €5.3bn.

Jagersma said the residential housing market was particularly attractive to investors, “as returns remained extremely high, and prospects also remained good”.

Surplus returns were 150-250 basis points relative to risk-free government bonds, he said, adding that the percentage of non-payments was less than 0.001% and falling.

Jagersma said the number of households in the Netherlands was still increasing on the back of a growing population and rising number of single-occupant households.

He said it was striking that, in some locations, the price of rented property was approaching the price of owner-occupied housing.

He said this was due to the combination of buyers being encouraged to pay off their mortgages, restrictions on the size of mortgages and the reduction of tax breaks on the loan.

He added that demand for rental property in the non-regulated segment had risen as a consequence of increased social flexibility.