Up to 6,600 new private rented homes are to be built in a deal announced by business secretary Vince Cable.
Separately, it was announced that Century 21 UK will exclusively let and manage the first 2,000 properties in the enormous build to rent portfolio.
The firm’s chief executive described winning the contract as a “real coup”.
The project is the first deal facilitated by the Government’s new Regeneration Investment Organisation.
All the properties will be delivered by Sigma Capital Group, backed by Gatehouse Bank, a Shariah-compliant investment bank. A total of 22 sites for the first 2,000 homes have already been identified in Liverpool and Greater Manchester and work is expected to start on them early next year.
These initial 2,000 properties will be let and managed by Direct Lettings, part of the Shepherd Direct Group which also owns Century 21 UK.
Direct Lettings will centrally manage the portfolio, while the properties and tenants will be serviced by Century 21 UK agents.
Cable said the deal will “create thousands of modern new homes as well as new jobs in Liverpool and Manchester, with similar plans in the pipeline for other regions in the country”. Sigma chief executive Graham Barnet said: “We have developed an innovative joint venture model designed to deliver high-quality homes in areas of the country where rental housing is in extremely short supply.
“Gatehouse has substantial knowledge of and expertise in the UK property market and has shared our vision for this project.
“I am delighted that we are now working together to deliver the roll-out of our model, which has the potential to create one of the largest new-build privately rented residential portfolios in the UK.”
Rob Clifford, group commercial director of Shepherd Direct Group and CEO at Century 21 UK, said: “The fact that our Direct Lettings and Century 21 UK businesses have been chosen as the sole management and lettings partners is a real coup for the Shepherd Direct Group and our highly talented and dedicated team.
“All properties in the portfolio will be expertly managed at central office by Direct Lettings and by our chosen local offices.
“In its initial phase this venture will offer high-quality private rental housing stock to thousands of individuals and families in the area and our Century 21 offices will be at the forefront of selecting suitable tenants for these properties.
“To say this represents a major opportunity for Shepherd Direct Group, Direct Lettings and our existing and new Century 21 offices across the UK would be something of an understatement.
“We are looking forward to seeing these quality rental properties coming to the marketplace over the forthcoming months and years.”