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Bouwinvest, CBRE GIP and ION pool €280m for Belgian homes

Institutional asset managers CBRE Global Investment Partners and Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors and have formed a strategic partnership with Belgian real estate developer ION to jointly invest an initial €280 million in new build affordable rental houses and apartments.

Known as the ION Residential Platform, the partnership will be the first unlisted institutional housing platform in Belgium. It will mainly focus on Belgium’s largest urban areas and projects will be sourced from ION’s development pipeline. These will be supplemented with acquisitions from other developers.

The first acquisitions will be made in the coming months, the partners said in a statement.

CBRE GIP, on behalf of one of its clients, and Bouwinvest will be equal investment partners, while ION will take a minority interest and act as service provider. Although the planned initial investment volume is €280 million, this may increase in the future.

Decreasing number of homeowners in Belgium

Approximately 72% of Belgians are currently homeowners, however research indicates that this figure will decrease significantly during the next decade and thousands of Belgian citizens will require rented homes. The proportion of homeowners has already fallen below 55% in major cities including Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent, Liege and Leuven.

“Providing affordable and high-quality sustainable housing is one of our key objectives and preferred investment strategies throughout Europe. This investment will allow us to play into that strategy in a defensive market with very strong long-term fundamentals,” said  CBRE GIP senior investment manager Line Verroken.