Two key players in the UK residential rental market have joined forced to target a £600m buy up of professionally managed homes for rent during the next two years.

The Partnership created by the Moorfield Group, the real estate fund manager, and Bricklane, the proptech residential investment platform, aims to acquire around 2,000 one-to-four bedroom houses and flats with an initial focus on London, Bristol and the South East.

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Using Bricklane’s technology, the Partnership will target homes that are expected to financially outperform comparable alternatives in those areas and it will seek to grow income and capital values through active asset management and refurbishment.

Ross Netherway, Head of Origination at Moorfield Group, said: “This Partnership provides us with an efficient and scalable means to find, buy, and manage individual residential properties for rent in our target markets.

“We are excited to be partnering with Bricklane who have the best-in-class capabilities—both human and technological—to help us deliver on our shared ambition. This Partnership will help further diversify our activities in our ‘beds’ theme and see us drive the professionalisation of a vast but fragmented market.”

By focusing on existing properties, in particular the 98% of the rental market owned by the UK’s 2.5 million buy-to-let landlords, the Partnership hopes to deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns. Both partners believe the UK will follow the example of the US single-family residential market, in which institutional investment in existing comparable properties has scaled from near $0 to $40bn in ten years.

Simon Heawood, CEO and Co-Founder of Bricklane, added: “The time is ripe for institutional capital to access and professionalise the mainstream Private Rented Sector. Demand is at an all-time high, while it is becoming less financially attractive for individual landlords to operate in the sector. Moreover, tenants are rightly demanding higher quality service and more secure contracts for their homes.

“Access to the mainstream market requires industrialising the acquisition and management of large numbers of individual assets, which is impossible without deep investment in technology. We have spent years building the technology platform, data science expertise and management experience to enable us to capitalise on this opportunity.

“We are very pleased to be doing this with a group of Moorfield’s track record and calibre, and the scale that this partnership brings will be transformational for our business, meaning that we are the leading platform of our kind in Europe. US operators have shown the potential of granular investment at scale and we believe that the UK’s population of renters deserves properties in which they can be truly at home.”

Both Moorfield and Bricklane have a strong track record of investing in and operating residential property.

Bricklane specialises in acquiring and managing residential for rent across the UK, with existing portfolios in London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham.

Moorfield, an early investor in the living sector, has a deep expertise in purpose-built student accommodation, retirement living and Build To Rent. The company also recently announced a partnership with We are Kin to focus on the one-million bed HMO student accommodation market, with a number of portfolio and individual acquisitions already completed.