Macquarie is funding a new build-to-rent platform that will invest more than $500 million into BTR projects in Australia.

Property executives Matt Berg and Dan McLennan have received backing from Macquarie Asset Management’s Real Estate division for a new BTR platform, Local. 

Macquarie Asset Management will fund Local’s first BTR asset, a 500-apartment project at Kensington in Melbourne’s inner north-west. The project is due for delivery by the end of 2024.  

Local said it will seek to provide sustainable housing at an attainable price in an inclusive community for residents.  

“Investing in Local is aligned to our strategy to invest in real estate suitable for tomorrow’s world; partnering with specialist real estate operators to create assets in sectors that we believe are supported by global megatrends,” said Macquarie Asset Management Global CIO Real Estate Jelte Bakker.  

“We strongly support the build-to-rent sector in various parts of the world and believe it has significant potential to grow in scale in Australia, driven by demographics including a growing renting population. 

“Globally we are seeing changing demographics and an increased focus on sustainability driving an evolution in tenant demand.” 

Local Co-CEO and founder Matt Berg said they had been involved in build-to-rent housing and adjacent sectors for several years and we’re excited about the vision of providing a better rental experience for renters. 

“That said, we saw a real gap in the Australian market for a platform which not only delivered quality housing and commercial returns, but also actively embraced the opportunity to deliver genuine impact and inclusion,” he said.  

On the sustainability front, Local seeks to reach net zero operational emissions within its buildings, reduce embodied carbon and target a 7.5 Star NatHERS rating.  

Fellow Local Co-CEO and founder Dan McLennan said there was huge untapped potential in apartments from a sustainability perspective. 

“Through taking a holistic and long-term view, we can invest in a range of meaningful sustainability initiatives such as onsite renewable power, low-carbon materials selection and additional insulation,” he said.