UK fund to turn agri land into residential properties

The Jersey-based Consilium Strategic Land Fund is wants to move quickly to purchase lands in the South East, including agricultural and land parcels and properties.

A new fund aiming to deliver a 12 percent per year annual return is investing in land sites in the UK’s South East, including agricultural and industrial land.

The Consilium Strategic Land Fund, which was launched by Orsini Property, will look for long- and short-term redevelopment opportunities as well as sites where residential properties could be built later down the line.

In fact, the fund has already completed an investment in a 90-acre field of grazing land in Billingshurst, West Sussex. Graeme Boiardini, the fund’s promoter, told Agri Investor: “While we are looking at short-term opportunities, these could be more expensive. This is attractive based on the fact that the Horsham area will be suitable area to build new housing and that the deal was done without an overage.”

This means the fund will not have to hand the seller additional payments related to any increase in the land value at a later date, although Boiardini says they are already looking into planning permissions and aim to have a residential property strategy for the land parcel by the end of the year.

Boiardini added that they would be interested in finding other agricultural land owners who are not operating a profitable business on particular land parcels and could benefit from selling. Farmland values in the UK are growing, but at a slower pace than previous years. However, a Savills report published in July indicated that farmland values in the South East had grown by over 2 percent in the second quarter of this year. Savills said this was evidence the region was showing improved confidence in residential markets and diversified farms compared to other regions, where the average rise in prices was 0.2 percent.

Boiardini, who is based in Abu Dhabi, says the fund will also target sites under council management that lack a 5-year housing supply. Britain’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to have a deliverable, up-to-date housing land supply within this time frame. If they do not, local planning policies will be considered out of date, meaning planning permissions can sometimes be accelerated.

The fund, which is based in Jersey, has engaged the consultancy services of Lightwood Planning and requires a minimum investment of $1 million.