Gatehouse Bank sells Thistle BTR portfolio to Goldman Sachs for €170m

Gatehouse Bank has announced the sale of its Thistle Build to Rent (BTR) property portfolio to Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and Pitmore for a total of £150 mln (€170 mln).

The deal, the largest transaction of its nature in the UK to date, comprises a portfolio of 918 units, predominantly two-and-three-bedroom homes across North-West England.

Thistle, a Single-Family Home (SFH) Private Rental Sector (PRS) Fund launched in 2014, is a joint venture between challenger bank Gatehouse, and Sigma Capital Group with a total investment in the region of £110 mln.

The portfolio is made up of 918 units on 15 sites across the north-west, predominantly the Greater Manchester and Liverpool areas. Thistle’s occupancy is at 99.8% and rental collection rates stand at around 98%.

Charles Haresnape, Gatehouse Bank’s CEO, said: ‘Thistle has not only been a highly performing investment throughout, it has also proved resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is a key consideration in this market. As such, a strategic decision was made to exit Thistle and crystalise returns for the investors. The marketing process generated a high level of world-class institutional investor interest and we are pleased to announce a deal has been finalised with Goldman Sachs.’

PwC and CBRE advised Gatehouse. Goldman Sachs and Pitmore were advised by Savills.

Paul Stockwell, Gatehouse Bank’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘The UK private rented sector has experienced consistent growth over the past five years underpinned by strong supply/demand dynamics. We are now looking to further develop our expertise in this sector with the creation of another fund in 2021.’

Commenting on the sales process, Peter Burns, Residential Capital Markets Leader at CBRE, said: ‘The unique nature of this portfolio meant that it was a highly competitive process, further demonstrating the significant weight of capital looking to enter the single family BTR sector.’

Barclays will be providing loan finance to Goldman Sachs to support the purchase.

Graham Chilver, Relationship Director at Barclays Corporate Real Estate, said: ‘Having funded these assets since development, the decision to extend our involvement was an obvious fit with our ongoing commitment to the real estate sector in the UK. We look forward to working with Goldman Sachs going forward, whilst also continuing our successful relationship with Gatehouse Bank.’

PwC and CBRE are now working with Gatehouse to source a new capital partner – maintaining the same investment composition and seeking to grow its single-family PRS portfolio to more than 3,000 units over the next five years through forward-funding direct from developers.


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