Oxford Properties Backs New Fund In First Impact Investment

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One of the world’s largest property owners has made its first foray into the world of impact investing by backing a new fund.

Oxford Properties, the real estate investment fund of Canadian pension fund OMERS, which manages $64B of property assets, is one of the investors that has backed the first closing of the Dream Impact Fund, managed by Canadian fund manager Dream UnlimitedPERE reported.

Oxford has previously invested in sustainable real estate and worked with its partners to have a social impact, but this is its first investment in assets specifically targeted at having a positive impact on society. It is among the real estate investors like Nuveen and Franklin Templeton that are in the vanguard in the growing field of real estate impact investment.

The Dream Impact Fund raised $109M in its first close and Dream Unlimited hopes to double that before it closes to new equity. It is an open-ended fund, meaning investors can sell out or new investors buy in over time, a relatively rare structure for impact funds, which tend to be closed ended.

The fund will invest in affordable housing, “inclusive communities” and resource efficiency in Canada. Oxford has typically debuted new investment strategies in its home North American markets before rolling them out more widely. The fund has a gross target rate of return of 12% to 14%, and Dream said it would soon publish a framework for how it would measure the social impact the fund made.