Melbourne, 16 November 2021
Property executives Matt Berg and Dan McLennan have joined forces in a venture with Macquarie Asset Management to launch Local, a new build-to-rent platform designed to create positive change in the Australian housing market, incorporating impact housing and targeting zero carbon emissions.
Local is focussed on providing a better alternative to the current rental market, for those choosing to rent for longer or as a more flexible and secure alternative to home ownership given underlying demographic trends and shifting societal preferences. Local will provide a high-quality living experience in all its projects, incorporating additional amenity, tenant services and professional on-site management.
The platform will seek to provide sustainable housing at an attainable price in an inclusive community for residents. In particular, all Local projects will incorporate a targeted component of impact housing with accommodation to create positive social impact, focusing on three groups – key workers such as nurses and hospitality workers, people living with a disability and women over the age of 55 who are at risk of homelessness.
Matt Berg, Local Co-CEO and Founder said traditionally within developments, impact housing is segregated, without access to building amenities - something Local is looking to improve upon.
“We’ve 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.”
“Our ambition is to provide positive and sustainable outcomes for our residents and communities that incorporates wellbeing, customer service, flexibility and security of tenure”.
From a sustainability standpoint, Local seeks to achieve net zero operational emissions within its buildings, reduce embodied carbon and target a 7.5 Star NatHERS rating, exceeding minimum standards and market practice.
Dan McLennan, Local Co-CEO and Founder, said there is 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.
“For a conventional developer, these may not deliver increased sales prices and therefore get put aside. However, for us, a strong focus on environmentally sustainable design will deliver a better longer term income stream, future proof our assets and offer a genuine alignment with the values of our investors, customers, and staff.”
A real estate joint venture managed by Macquarie Asset Management’s Real Estate division and comprising Macquarie and major global real estate investors, intends to fund Local projects with an end value in excess of $500 million including Local’s first build-to-rent asset at Kensington in Melbourne’s inner north-west. The project will comprise 500 apartments and is due for delivery by the end of 2024. Local is actively growing its pipeline in order to scale and cater to demand over the coming years.
Jelte Bakker, Global CIO Real Estate, Macquarie Asset Management, said “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.
“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.
“Local’s founders have a deep understanding of the Australian residential market and are taking an innovative approach to developing build-to-rent projects. Globally we are seeing changing demographics and an increased focus on sustainability driving an evolution in tenant demand. We believe Local is well placed to deliver a great living experience for the increasing number of Australians who rent. We are pleased to be investing in Local, providing access to high quality real estate in this strongly emerging sector in Australia.”