01 June 2021

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Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors has allocated € 75 million on behalf of its European mandate to a newly launched venture from Irish investment manager Ardstone to invest in social and affordable rental housing in Dublin. The transaction follows investments earlier this year for Bouwinvest’s institutional European mandate in affordable housing in Scandinavia and Belgium.

Robert Koot, Director European Investments at Bouwinvest, said: “Dublin is by no means alone in experiencing a shortage of suitable accommodation for lower and middle-income earners, with many developed cities around the world facing similar issues. At Bouwinvest, we adjust our affordable housing strategy in line with the needs of each individual market. In addition to affordability, sustainability is a key pillar of the residential investments we’ve made in recent years, such as those in France, Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Nordics. Affordability and sustainability are also high on Ardstone’s agenda in Ireland.”

Jasper Petit, Senior Portfolio Manager Europe at Bouwinvest, added: “Specialists like Ardstone, who have boots on the ground, give us local market knowledge and access to the increasingly sought-after affordable and social rental housing asset class. In our home market, the Netherlands, there is a huge shortage of rental accommodation in the mid-range and social segment. A similar situation exists in Dublin. That supply/demand imbalance in Dublin is precisely what we are targeting with our investment, as this enables us to create value in both social and financial terms.”

Ardstone’s new open-ended fund invests in both social and affordable housing, primarily in Dublin but also in fast-growing commuter towns and employment hubs in its surrounding counties. The majority of the portfolio will comprise apartments, but the strategy will cater for a wide range of demographics by providing a variety of unit types including a proportion of single-family rental homes. Since launching in January 2021, the fund has committed to acquire € 550 million worth of assets, with further deals totalling € 300 million set to be signed in Q2.

Donal O’Neill, CEO of Ardstone, said: “We have been highly active in the residential market for the past five years delivering housing for the social, rental, and owner-occupier sectors. In doing so, we have demonstrated the positive contribution that high-quality, institutional capital partners such as Bouwinvest can make towards the solution to Ireland’s housing shortage. We are committed to working closely with local policy makers and other stakeholders to assist with supplying appropriate housing to the market. This strategy will participate in the provision of high-quality, mixed-tenure housing schemes, with owner-occupiers and renters living alongside each other in sustainable communities. We believe that these types of schemes will drive positive societal impact and create robust long-term returns for our investors.”

Bouwinvest aims to increase its institutional European mandate’s assets under management to € 1.8 billion by the end of 2023, from € 1.1 billion at the end of 2020. The mandate has a ‘core’ investment style, with its strategy focused mainly on major metropolitan areas in Europe across a range of property sectors, including residential, offices, hotels, retail and logistics.