LONDON, April 1 Insurer Prudential is
set to become the first UK institutional investor to enter
Britain's rented housing market in recent times, the Financial
Times reported on Monday citing people familiar with the matter.
The Prudential Property Investment Management division -
part of M&G, the insurer's asset management arm - is close to a
deal to buy more than 500 homes from housebuilder Berkeley
, the FT reported.
The deal is expected to be agreed this week and to value the
portfolio at about 140 million pounds ($213 million), according
to the FT, and could pave the way for the growth of a
corporate-backed letting market.
The government is keen to encourage institutions to become
landlords as it looks to tackle Britain's housing shortage.
Finance Minister George Osborne said in March he was setting
aside 1 billion pounds in funding for homes to be built for the
purpose of renting to private individuals.
Reuters reported in March that big investors such as pension
funds and insurers were looking to make more investments
directly rather than investing in funds.
Insurer Legal & General said in March it was taking
a 46.5 percent stake in UK housebuilder CALA Group alongside
Patron Capital, part of a plan to do more direct investments in
education, housing, transport and energy.
Prudential could not be reached for comment.