Barings buys its first UK private rented sector asset

The_KeelAsset management firm Barings has made its first investment in the UK private rented sector with the £46.75 million purchase of a Liverpool property.

The firm, which is owned by America’s MassMutual and already has residential experience in the US, has bought a 240-apartment property called The Keel, at Queens Dock in Liverpool as part of a pan-European core investment strategy run for institutional investors.

Barings Real Estate, which made the purchase from Moorfield Group, said the private rented sector is a rapidly expanding institutional asset class in the UK.

The Keel sits on the side of the River Mersey and is described as a high quality mid-market residential apartment block with manned concierge/reception, on-site gym, room for 207 cars and secure perimeter fencing.

Key demographic and structural drivers for the private rented sector include a “chronic undersupply of housing”, which is further exacerbated by declining average household sizes, as well as a significant increase in the number of people renting, said Darren Hutchinson, head of UK real estate transactions at Barings.

“This transaction presents a rare opportunity to acquire a well located operating PRS [private rented sector] asset in an iconic building on Liverpool’s riverside. We believe there is an opportunity to add value through leasing up the vacant apartments and capturing rental reversion as a number of short term leases in The Keel expire.”

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