The Inside Story of Cortland's UK Growth, LIV Group Acquisition

When US-based residential firm Cortland diligently researched which global market would offer the best opportunity to expand globally, London ranked No. 2, behind Australia.

Melbourne, Australia, sat nearly 16,000 kilometres, or 9,700 miles, from its home base in Atlanta, Georgia, a little too far flung for Cortland’s liking. Therefore, the company selected London and the city’s outlying regions for its international expansion, doing so about the same time UK voters supported a move to depart the European Union in the Brexit referendum.

London proved attractive because demand for housing easily outpaced supply. On top of that, the UK’s build-to-rent (BTR) segment, comparable to the luxury Class A apartment market in the US, only began to develop circa 2013, around the time Londoners got a glimpse of homes at the Olympic Village and saw what amenities and services rental units could offer, Cortland founder and Chief Executive Officer Steven DeFrancis said in an interview.

The fast-growing firm charged into the UK market in 2017 with its acquisition of development firm Orion Land and Leisure. Late last week, it acquired Leeds-based LIV Group , which leases and operates more than 2,000 BTR homes across the UK and has in its management pipeline about 7,000 units that will deliver by the end of 2021.