Countrywide launches residential property fund

The UK’s biggest estate agency chain, Countrywide, and Hermes Investment Management have launched a residential property fund.

Aimed at institutional investors, the new Vista fund offers access to the private rented sector.

Vista will target high-quality, modern, purpose-built residential stock across the UK, with a bias toward regional towns and cities with strong underlying economies.

The fund will cap its Greater London exposure to a third of the overall portfolio.

Vista is launching with £95m of commitments from cornerstone investors and has already invested in three assets in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham with a combined value of £13m.

Chris Taylor, Hermes chief executive, said: “The UK private rented sector has delivered attractive, risk adjusted returns over recent years and we believe that it will continue to perform in a market which is facing a chronic mismatch between demand and supply.

“This demand is further underpinned by demographic and lifestyle trends, and coupled with a shift towards greater urbanisation, long-term institutional capital invested in the private rented sector can play a key role in delivering much-needed new housing supply.

“We also believe an opportunity exists to establish best practices in the delivery and management of purpose-built PRS at an affordable rent throughout the UK.

“We are determined to deliver an extremely attractive UK PRS investment solution to investors and tenants alike.”

Graham Bell, finance director at Countrywide, said: “As the UK’s largest property services group with over 1,300 branches, the size and scale of Countrywide means it is uniquely placed to play a leading role in building a large residential investment vehicle.

“Countrywide’s proprietary data and on-the-ground knowledge, generated from over 12,000 employees working in their local property markets, allows us to identify specific areas which combine strong economic growth potential and attractive yields.

“Our integrated letting and property management platform, with over 65,000 properties let and managed, allows us to drive operating performance and minimise gross-to-net erosion.

“Finally, both our Lambert Smith Hampton division and our large land and new homes team give us access to an extensive network of relationships across the UK which allows us to source attractive investment opportunities.”


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