Legal & General has recently exchanged contracts on a new Build to Rent (BTR) site in Chelmsford City Centre on behalf of its UK Property Fund.
The UK Property Fund – often known simply as ‘The Fund’ – has grown from £100 million in 2006 to over £3 billion today and has seen steady capital investment from retail investors.
This will be the first BTR acquisition for The Fund as it continues to diversify its holdings into more operational assets. It will sit alongside The Funds’ other recent alternative investments in hotels, healthcare and student accommodation.
The BTR site, Chelmer Waterside, forms part of a major mixed-use development in Chelmsford, comprising 421 residential apartments, associated landscaping and local retail amenities.
The BTR element comprises 104 studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments in two adjoining freehold blocks and is a 10 minutes walk from the city centre. It is also bounded by the River Chelmer and Springfield lock, with balconies offering sought-after riverside views.
Chelmer Waterside is being developed by Taylor Wimpey in conjunction with Legal & General – both advised by Savills and Colliers respectively.
This purchase marks Legal & General’s eleventh BTR asset across its wider platform.
Matthew Jarvis, senior fund manager, UK Property Land, at LGIM Real Assets, commented: “This acquisition is in line with our strategy for the UK Property Fund to increase our exposure to alternative operational assets, whilst demonstrating the breadth of our wider fund management platform which has enabled us to collaborate with our well established BTR team.”
He said that as the firm continues to diversify its holdings into more alternative sectors, Build to Rent will remain a ‘preferred subsector’ alongside operational hotels, self-storage and student accommodation. This will give Legal & General real time access to occupational markets with a strong rental growth story.
Jarvis added: “Chelmsford in particular has strong location dynamics, benefitting from a 40% increase in average prices over the last 10 years. With excellent commuter links to London, it is also set to experience notable population growth, placing further demand on housing.”