Countryside to construct the first 361 homes for the Homes England-backed venture

Build to rent specialist Sigma Capital has formed a joint venture with Swedish private equity group EQT to develop a £1bn portfolio of 3,000 new build rented homes across London.

Backed with £50m of funding from housing quango Homes England, the joint venture has already agreed a deal with housebuilder Countryside for it to construct the first 361 homes for the partnership.

The joint venture, in which EQT Real Estate has invested an initial sum of £300m, will also buy two sites for 157 homes from Sigma Capital itself when construction is completed.

Countryside Sigma Beam Park

Countryside said the deal with the new joint venture, which follows on from its existing relationship with Sigma Capital, will see its partnerships business commence build work on five sites in Ealing, Enfield and Havering, allowing it to also deliver other homes on “important” regeneration sites earlier than previously planned.

The joint venture represents EQT’s first investment in the UK. The Swedish-based global private equity business said it is focusing investment on “beds and sheds” in European Gateway cities.

EQT said homes will be built to high sustainability standards, tapping in to heat networks and using photovoltaic panels.

The deal was hailed by housing minister Christopher Pincher, who said: “These 3,000 new homes, backed by £50 million from our housing accelerator Homes England, will help us deliver for families across Greater London.”

Peter Shacalis, director at EQT Partners and head of UK, EQT Real Estate, said the firm was currently evaluating a further pipeline of projects in Greater London in addition to the initial seven schemes announced today.

Iain McPherson, group chief executive, Countryside Properties, said he was delighted at the deal, which will “deliver much-needed PRS homes within London.”

Countryside’s relationship with Sigma to build homes for rent in the region has been cemented by the appointment earlier this year of former Countryside chief executive Ian Sutcliffe as Sigma’s non-executive chair. While at Countryside, Sutcliffe negotiated the initial partnership between the firms, which has now produced 4,200 homes.