Leading UK retirement village developer and operator fund raises £85m to continue growth


The Moorfield Audley Real Estate Fund (MAREF) has successfully raised a further £85 million from existing investors to take the total raised to £285 million.


Moorfield Group, the UK real estate private equity fund manager, created MAREF to acquire Audley, the leading UK retirement village developer and operator, in December 2015.


Audley, one of the UK’s fastest growing companies, is the UK’s market leading luxury retirement village provider and is ramping up for a period of significant and sustained growth. This latest fund raising round creates a total war chest of over £700 million to be invested over the next five years, drawn from a combination of equity, development income and investment debt.


To date, the fund has attracted institutional investors from the US and continental Europe, and this new funding will support the acquisition and development of new Audley Villages in key locations, as well as sites for its new mid-market proposition, Mayfield Villages. Investors have been attracted to Audley’s vision of creating a best-in-class product, differentiated from its competitors in many ways and not least by its innovative business model, with Audley both developing and operating the villages.


As well as the 15 villages that sit under the Audley Villages brand, which when completed will provide at least 2,000 units nationwide, 500 units are currently planned at future Mayfield Village sites.


Marc Gilbard, Moorfield Group CEO, said: “Over the nine years we have worked with Audley we have seen that a strong management team, premium design and ambitious growth plans have led to the business being a significant success story. The retirement living sector has become one of the biggest growth areas in UK real estate. We decided to raise the additional capital from our present investors in the fund and we are very pleased to have reached our target.


“The new capital will give Audley the opportunity to acquire new sites, develop existing sites and allow the expansion of the business. We continue to expect to see a strong return for our investors as Audley capitalises on the clear demand for quality living options for the older generation in the UK.”


Nick Sanderson, Audley CEO said: “This latest round of fundraising further underlines what we at Audley and Moorfield have known for some time; retirement living in the UK is a growth market, principally as a result of the significant shortage of retirement housing and growing demand is now vastly outstripping supply. Market penetration is less than 1% in the UK, compared with 17% in the USA, and 13% in Australia and New Zealand.


“This new investment will allow us to explore new sites for both the Audley and Mayfield brands, delivering the products and services that our customers demand. We are a profitable business with a robust balance sheet. Our vision is to continue transforming the market by providing choice and high quality housing, and investment such as this will allow us to maintain our heritage of innovation and realise this vision.”


Audley’s brands serve two distinct audiences. Audley Villages is the luxury retirement brand, delivering a first class experience and award winning design to owners. Typically, heritage properties are adapted to incorporate existing features from the original buildings, bringing them back to life by turning them into modern, high specification houses, apartments and communal spaces, akin to a boutique hotel. Owners also benefit from access to luxurious Audley Club facilities which include a restaurant, bar/bistro, library, a health and wellbeing centre and swimming pool. All owners can also take advantage of the highest quality care in their own home.

Responding to customer demand, Audley last year launched Mayfield Villages, a mid-market proposition for which the first location will be announced shortly. The premise behind Mayfield is to offer the same level of service as Audley Villages, with high living standards and excellent care, but at a lower price point. These will be larger villages, typically in urban/suburban environments.

Audley was ranked 73rd in the 2016 Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table of the UK’s fastest growing private companies by sales growth over the past three years, and CEO Nick Sanderson was 8th in the 2016 Health Investor Power Fifty Most Influential Leaders’ Awards. He was also handed the inaugural Pathfinder Award for innovation in healthcare at the same ceremony.


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