Bouwinvest, CBRE GIP and ION form strategic partnership to invest EUR 280 million in the Belgian affordable residential rental market

The institutional asset managers Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors and CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP) have entered into a strategic partnership with ION, one of the leading Belgian real estate developers. Together, they will invest EUR 280 million in affordable new-build houses and apartments exclusively for the rental market. 

Bouwinvest and CBRE GIP, on behalf of one of its clients, will be equal investment partners while ION will take a minority interest and act as service provider. The joint venture will have an initial investment capacity of EUR 280 million, with the expectation this may increase over time.

ION Residential Platform (IRP) will be the very first unlisted institutional housing platform in Belgium. It will focus primarily on Belgium's largest urban areas. Projects will be sourced from ION’s development pipeline and will also be supplemented with acquisitions from other developers. The platform plans to make a number of purchases in the coming months.

"The launch of this joint venture is a next step in the development of ION, as an investor-developer. We believe in the Belgian rental market and have the ambition of achieving significant growth. The partnership with two leading institutional investors will allow us to realise our ambitions more quickly. By combining each other's expertise, we will be able to grow rapidly and maximise our focus on sustainability and innovation in this new market."

Davy Demuynck & Kristof Vanfleteren, co-CEOs of ION

Growing demand for rental housing

Approximately 72% of Belgians are currently homeowners. However, research shows that this number will decrease considerably over the next decade. This means that tens of thousands of additional Belgians will rent a home instead of owning one. The number of homeowners is already below 55% in major cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent, Liege and Leuven. A downward trend is particularly noticeable in new buildings and in the suburbs.

“Providing affordable and high-quality sustainable housing is one of our key objectives and preferred investment strategies throughout Europe. This investment will allow us to play into that strategy in a defensive market with very strong long-term fundamentals. We are pleased to be partnering with ION and Bouwinvest to build an attractive product and a strong platform.”

Line Verroken, Senior Investment Manager, CBRE Global Investment Partners

 Focus on durability

IRP aims to become a reference among tenants by offering high quality and professionally managed homes. The platform’s sustainable projects will actively contribute to a more climate-friendly housing market. The joint venture will provide the partners a stable long-term return, with the prospect of further growth in an attractive new market.

“Affordable housing as an asset class offers an interesting opportunity to create value in both financial and social terms. The fundamentals for this investment are strong due to ongoing urbanisation and a growing housing shortage in urban areas. We are keen to expand our investments in this segment given the sustained demand and lower risk level and are excited to pursue this particular strategy together with ION and CBRE GIP.”

Jasper Petit, Senior Portfolio Manager European Investments, Bouwinvest

“This investment will enable us to strengthen our presence in Belgium and in particular, the largest cities. It also contributes to Bouwinvest's objectives of achieving a solid long-term return in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.”

Robert Koot, Director European Investments, Bouwinvest

“We are very proud of the creation of this joint venture. We are convinced that the combination of Bouwinvest and CBRE GIP's global residential investment experience combined with ION's pipeline, sustainability knowledge and local expertise will lead to wonderful results. The Belgian residential investment market is very interesting and this step gives a further boost to the market.”

Casper van Grieken, Head of CBRE Capital Advisors Netherlands

CBRE Capital Advisors acted as corporate finance advisor to ION and guided the transaction process.


About ION
ION is an innovative project developer and real estate investor that emphasises both high-quality architecture, design sustainability and innovative applications in the rather traditional real-estate sector. ION has offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Waregem. The projects are geographically spread all over Belgium. In recent years, ION has developed some 30 projects with a total value of EUR 650 million (100% sold and realised), and has a pipeline of more than 80 projects with a value of EUR 2.4 billion. With its extensive expertise, whether commercial, technical, fiscal, legal or financial, ION succeeds in creating added value for all stakeholders. ION specialises in mixed complex projects with a combination of residential and commercial properties. Moreover, ION has a dynamic team of 100 real estate specialists. More info on

About Bouwinvest
Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors invests capital mainly for pension funds and insurers. We invest for the long term and manage a total € 12.9 billion in various property sectors. We aim to play a role in contributing to the city landscapes of the future and influencing their design. Our asset management contributes to sustainability, liveability and accessibility in the urban environment and the improvement of   pension benefits in the retirement plans of our clients. In this way we create social and financial returns. In short: we create Real value for life. For more information, visit

About CBRE Global Investment Partners
CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP) is a division of CBRE Global Investors. CBRE GIP delivers investment solutions customised for clients’ individual objectives by constructing portfolios using private funds, secondaries, co-investments and joint ventures, partnering with leading operators and fund managers for each strategy. Investments cover the risk spectrum from core to enhanced, can be global or regional in nature, and use a variety of investment vehicles based on clients' preferences. CBRE GIP has $34.9 billion in assets under management* as of September 30, 2020.

CBRE Global Investment Partners Limited is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is also a registered investment adviser with the United States Securities Exchange Commission.

* Includes $8.7B of AUM managed by CBRE Global Investors affiliates. Assets under management (AUM) refers to the fair market value of real asset-related investments with respect to which CBRE Global Investors provides, on a global basis, oversight, investment management services and other advice and which generally consist of investments in real assets; equity in funds and joint ventures; securities portfolios; operating companies and real asset-related loans. This AUM is intended principally to reflect the extent of CBRE Global Investors' presence in the global real asset market, and its calculation of AUM may differ from the calculations of other asset managers. 

Sam Bordon

Investment Director, ION

Anton de Graaf

Marketing & Communication Manager, Bouwinvest

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