New UK land investment fund targets 12% annual return


ConsiliumA new fund investing in land sites in the South East of England has been launched with the aim of delivering an annual return of 12 per cent a year.  The fund will be targeted at sophisticated high net worth individuals and institutional investors.

The Consilium Strategic Land Fund will focus on land investment opportunities that are at the most profitable stage in their development cycle – those sites that are in the ‘change of use’ or ‘re-zoning’ phase and can be promoted to obtain a change of planning status. The Fund, launched by Orsini Property Limited, will target land administered by local councils in the South East that do not have a five-year housing supply, which means these sites have the potential to be accelerated through the planning process.

The Fund intends to invest 20 per cent in short-term opportunities of between one and three years, 30 per cent in medium-term investments of between three and six years and 50 per cent in long-term investments of between four and eight years.

Land sites identified by local governments as strategically important for future residential or mixed-used development, but which do not have outline or detailed planning consent, will also be considered by the Fund. The aim is to increase their value by promoting them through the re-zoning or change of use planning process before being sold to a developer.

The Fund’s management has considerable experience in strategic land investments and will be led by Joanne Luce , Managing Director of Aqua Fund Services. She will be supported by Stephen Morgan, who has over 20 years’ experience of working in the offshore financial services sector, and who has held directorship roles for a number of real estate and private equity funds. He has also helped oversee some significant real estate acquisitions.

The Fund’s investment adviser is Lightwood Planning, a subsidiary of Lightwood, which is a strategic land consultancy group that specialises in providing advice, planning, valuations and support services to developers and planning agencies on large-scale planning projects in the UK. It works with local authorities and national house builders on all aspects of the planning including land valuation, feasibility studies and site acquisition/ecological and environmental consulting.

Based in Esher, Surrey since 2001, Lightwood has helped secure planning consent on over 650 units. It is currently promoting over 600 acres for new development across the UK through its subsidiary Lightwood Strategic, with around 450 acres identified or allocated within draft local plans for consent, which would deliver a total of 3000 units.

Joanne Luce, Director of the Consilium Strategic Land Fund, said:

“The nation is in desperate need of new housing.  In 2004, nearly 60 per cent of 25 – 34 years olds were owner occupiers and now it’s just over a third. Private tenants are now on average paying £4 in every £10 they take home in rent. This situation is likely to get worse because although we are building some 150,000 homes a year, we really need around 250,000.

“With the pressure mounting to build new homes, demand for land will increase, making this an attractive investment opportunity. We believe the experience of our team means we are well positioned to capitalise on this opportunity – particularly in the South East.”

The Fund is an unregulated, eligible investors fund domiciled in Jersey with a minimum investment of USD 1 million or currency equivalent.