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Greystar Outlines Huge Ambitions For Dublin Residential

Mitchell McDermott's Paul Mitchell, Ires REIT's Margaret Sweeney and Greystar's Mark Allnutt

Greystar is targeting a build-to-rent portfolio of between 5,000 and 10,000 units in Dublin, highlighting its huge ambitions in the new but fast-growing Irish rented-residential sector.

Speaking at Bisnow’s Dublin State of the Market event, Greystar UK Senior Managing Director Mark Allnut said Dublin has the potential to become a major European hub for the U.S. company, which is the world’s largest operator of rented residential housing.

“Before the event today I was considering what the figure should be,” Allnut said, when asked by Mitchell McDermott co-founder Paul Mitchell about the size of its ideal Dublin portfolio.

“I was going to say 5,000 units, but I think really it’s closer to 10,000. When you get to a portfolio of that size you get real operational efficiencies.”

Greystar is in the process of completing its first deal in Dublin: It is buying the 268 apartments at Ballymore’s Dublin Landings scheme for around €175M. 

A few factors will make building up a large portfolio easier.

“The Dublin market is highly supportive of the build-to-rent sector,” he said. “There’s good economic growth and companies are moving here and expanding here, meaning the city needs more workers and high-quality, professionally managed space to house them.”

Ires REIT Chief Executive Margaret Sweeney said the listed company is targeting a portfolio of a similar size. It owns about 2,700 units across Ireland, and is in the process of buying or building another 955.

“There is actually still plenty of land for building on,” she said.

Cushman & Wakefield Ireland Managing Director Aidan Gavin emphasised the link between inward investment from big international companies and the BTR sector.

“With all the office space being delivered and the additional job creation, the challenge will be where we will accommodate the workers," he said.

Every square foot of office creates demand for three times the amount of residential, he said.

“The good news is since the adoption of new building regulations, BTR changes and height changes, we have seen a substantial level of activity in the space in the last six months, and we currently have visibility on nearly 30,000 units in the pipeline for Dublin.”

He also pointed to reports indicating that there is €7B of capital chasing the Irish build-to-rent sector. Major investors that have bought in the last couple of years include Kennedy Wilson and AXA, and Round Hill Capital with Canadian pension fund QuadReal.

For more from Greystar, QuadReal and other major investors in the Dublin BTR sector, come to Bisnow’s Dublin Build-To-Rent Extravaganza on 27 June.