Bouwfonds Investment Management (Bouwfonds IM) significantly outstripped its performance of recent years with Bouwfonds European Residential Fund (BERF) in the past twelve months. Bouwfonds IM also improved the fund portfolio occupancy rate – from 97.3 percent in late April 2014 to 98.6 percent at the end of February 2016. The BVI return of BERF for the year was 5.7 percent at the end of February 2016, 90 basis points above the five-year average, which stood at 4.8 percent as at the same date. The fund performed significantly better than indexes such as the OFIX Europe (open-ended real estate funds for retail investors, 1 year performance: 0.8 percent, 5 year performance 0.5 percent as of February 2016) and the SFIX Europe (real estate special funds, 1 year performance 2.6 percent, 5 year performance of 0.8 percent as of December 2015), whose focus is on commercial real estate.

Michiel Dubois, Managing Director of Residential Real Estate, commented: “BERF’s development has again been highly gratifying. The improved performance in the last twelve months was driven by our Pan-European investment strategy and the quality of the assets. We see this as an affirmation of our strategy of investing in residential properties throughout Europe. Our strategy also includes the acquisition of residential development projects. We acquired seven assets with a total value of EUR 160 million in 2014/2015. Of these, five properties were still in the development phase at the time of the acquisition. This contributes to the large share of young properties in the portfolio. Around a quarter of the portfolio is less than five years old.”

“Bouwfonds IM is currently preparing a second European residential real estate fund in response to the strong demand among institutional investors for investment opportunities in European residential markets,” says Martin Eberhardt, Country Manager of Bouwfonds IM Germany and responsible for Investor Services. “We plan to launch the fund in the first half of 2016. The fund will invest in residential properties in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and the UK and targets European investors. The intended volume is about EUR 750 million to 1 billion.”

Since launching the first European residential fund nine years ago, Bouwfonds IM has built up a high-quality portfolio of 77 residential properties in five European countries. BERF currently comprises a total of around 8,200 residential units. Approximately half of the portfolio is located in Germany, around 20 percent in the Netherlands, 15 percent in Denmark and roughly 11 percent in France. The fund’s property assets amounted to EUR 868.2 million at the end of February 2016, with a debt ratio of no more than 21.9 percent. BERF is an open-ended mutual property fund for institutional investors with a minimum investment of EUR 500,000.