First buy-to-let investment trust to float
An investment trust aiming to buy and rent out houses and flats is raising cash ahead of a year-end stock market flotation
House prices are rising across the country, with properties in the South East in particular demand
Large-scale residential property funds have not taken off, despite interest for years from both private and institutional investors Photo: ALAMY
By Richard Dyson
Britain's first listed “buy-to-let” investment fund will start raising money from private and institutional investors on Monday.
Mill Residential plans to float on the London Stock Exchange before Christmas. It will be the first real estate investment trust (REIT) in Britain focused on mainstream flats and houses, initially buying newer properties around London and the South.
It is managed by Mill Group, a property specialist overseeing a £2.5bn portfolio of office space, social and privately rented housing.
The fund aims to yield a modest 3pc after costs, which Mill’s chief executive, David Toplas, said is “quite acceptable to investors where it is underpinned by rising capital values.” The fund will borrow sums equal to the capital raised and buy properties worth between £200,000 and £400,000.
Share issues next year and beyond will enable the fund to buy big portfolios “lock, stock and barrel” from established, private landlords, Mr Toplas said, and help “consolidate” Britain’s “fragmented private rented sector”.
Large-scale residential REITs have been mooted for a decade, but not taken off. Analysts say one factor that has changed is the growth of very large private landlords. Swapping holdings for REIT shares can be a tax efficient way to retire.
Private investors wanting to subscribe must invest a minimum £1,000 via the SyndicateRoom crowdfunding platform.