The institutional asset managers Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors and CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP) have entered into a strategic partnership with ION, one of the leading Belgian real estate developers. Together, they will invest €280 million in affordable new-build houses and apartments exclusively for the rental market.
ION Residential Platform (IRP) will be the very first unlisted institutional housing platform in Belgium. It will focus primarily on Belgium's largest urban areas. Projects will be sourced from ION’s development pipeline and will also be supplemented with acquisitions from other developers. The platform plans to make a number of purchases in the coming months.
„The launch of this joint venture is a next step in the development of ION, as an investor-developer. We believe in the Belgian rental market and have the ambition of achieving significant growth. The partnership with two leading institutional investors will allow us to realise our ambitions more quickly. By combining each other's expertise, we will be able to grow rapidly and maximise our focus on sustainability and innovation in this new market.“, said Davy Demuynck & Kristof Vanfleteren, co-CEOs of ION.
Growing demand for rental housing
Approximately 72% of Belgians are currently homeowners. However, research shows that this number will decrease considerably over the next decade. This means that tens of thousands of additional Belgians will rent a home instead of owning one. The number of homeowners is already below 55% in major cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent, Liege and Leuven. A downward trend is particularly noticeable in new buildings and in the suburbs.
Focus on durability
IRP aims to become a reference among tenants by offering high quality and professionally managed homes. The platform’s sustainable projects will actively contribute to a more climate-friendly housing market. The joint venture will provide the partners a stable long-term return, with the prospect of further growth in an attractive new market.
CBRE Capital Advisors acted as corporate finance advisor to ION and guided the transaction process.