Investa set sights on 5k build to rent apartments

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INVESTA has launched its build to rent management platform, which is eyeing off a portfolio of 5,000 apartments in Sydney and Melbourne, and will provide investment, development and property management services to Canadian partner Oxford’s pipeline.

To be known as Indi, the platform will begin with Oxford’s existing pair of projects in the major cities.

They include the Pitt Street over station development that deliver 234 apartments as part of the Sydney CBD’s first build to rent development, and where Cimic’s CPB Contractors has just been appointed to deliver the project, as well as a $450 million development with 702 apartments in the inner western Melbourne suburb of Footscray, 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.

They are respectively due for completion in September 2023 and the September quarter of 2024.

Indi will focus on locations in Sydney and Melbourne that are close to major transport links and public amenities. Developments will comprise between 250 to 1,000 apartments and include extensive amenities such as co-working spaces, pools, gyms, cinemas, wellness facilities, landscaped gardens and kids’ play areas, and dedicated on-site service teams providing 24-hour service.

“Our apartments will be purpose-built for rental and will incorporate contemporary design, high-quality finishes and flexible floorplans to meet a broad spectrum of residents’ needs,” Investa group executive, real estate services and business operations, Sally Franklin said.

“We have incorporated ‘rent different’ into our operating principles, as we are committed to delivering this at every touch point of a resident’s journey with us.”

Residents will be able to enter into leases of up to three years, and Indi will offer pet-friendly policies and the ability to personalise apartments and sustainable design and operations.

“Supported by strong macroeconomic tailwinds, continued population growth across younger renting cohorts, record high housing affordability constraints and a structural undersupply of high-quality and professionally managed residential product, the potential of the sector is high,” James Greener, fund manager, build to rent said.

In the US and UK, the growing build-to-rent asset class represents 12% and 2% of the existing housing stock. If just 1% of Australia’s current housing stock transitioned to the sector, it represents a $74 billion opportunity.

Interest in the sector is picking up pace. Global real estate investment firm Hines has just made three new strategic hires in Sydney as it focuses on expanding into Australia’s build-to-rent sector, among others, while former Mirvac executives have teamed up with developer and investment manager Aliro Group to launch a new build-to-rent platform targeting a $1 billion pipeline.

They follow global player Greystar Real Estate Partners raising $1.3 billion to invest in the sector with a focus on Sydney and Melbourne.

Mirvac has played a leading role in establishing the institutional sector’s presence in the build-to-rent market.

Alec Harper, Oxford head of Australia, said: “As Oxford has experienced across North America and the UK, there is a deep need and desire among renters for high quality, professionally managed apartments. Indi provides us with an opportunity to move the status quo of the current landlord and tenant dynamic in Australia, by replacing it with one where the owner is focused on service and providing an exceptional experience for residents”.

Oxford currently owns and operates a portfolio of almost 10,000 apartments across North America, with a development pipeline of approximately 15,000 units. It is a co-owner of Get Living, a UK BTR platform, which owns approximately 3,000 operational units, with a pipeline of a further 5,000 units.

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