MetLife Seals $390M SFR Fund, Makes First Investments

The vehicle targets the largest markets in the U.S., its portfolio manager tells MHN.

James Ray is portfolio manager for the fund. Image courtesy of MetLife Investment Management

MetLife’s institutional asset management has closed its MetLife Single Family Rental Fund with $390 million in capital commitments from a global group of institutional investors.

The fund is the first closed-end investment vehicle launched by MetLife Investment Management’s real estate equity team. James Ray, who previously oversaw regional acquisitions and development activity in the Southwestern United States, is the portfolio manager for the fund.

MIM has met its fundraising goal for the fund and has already been putting the capital to work.

“We’ve broken ground on a property in Indianapolis and expect to imminently break ground on our second project in Texas,” Ray told Multi-Housing News. “We have several other investments in the pipeline, at various stages of diligence, but will be patient and diligent as we evaluate and pursue opportunities.”

MIM’s single-family rental strategy is focused on developing and acquiring purpose-built, single-family rentals across the 75 largest U.S. markets.

“We generally prefer growth markets, but we’re primarily focused on locations that give renters access to schools, job nodes and retail,” Ray told MHN. “Our seven regional teams understand the nuanced differences that define locations, and our screening process is deliberately bottom-up.”

Robert Merck, global head of real estate and agricultural finance at MIM, said in a prepared statement the firm has a high level of conviction in the demand for single-family rentals and sees the fund as a natural extension of its experience investing in other housing segments.

MIM’s real estate platform consists of both commercial mortgage loan strategies and real estate equity strategies. As of March 31, the firm had $111.2 billion in gross commercial real estate assets under management.

In December, MIM provided a $92 million fixed-rate acquisition loan on behalf of a client for the sale of Aura Boca, a newly built multifamily community in Boca Raton, Fla. Real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield served as the exclusive adviser to institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives.

MIM last year served as a joint venture equity partner with Security Properties in the development of The Confidential, a $193 million  29-story, 212-unit, 374,000-square-foot mixed-use building in the Belltown submarket of Seattle.

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