Allan Saunderson is managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to

LONDON-The European real estate sector has been strongly heartened by the announcement of the US-based private equity group Blackstone that it has made a final closing of Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe III, targeting equity capital of over €3.1 billion at Europe, in the first instance UK and Germany.

The initial intended target sum was €2.5 billion but the group extended the funding. It said BREP Europe III will target property investments throughout Europe and has commitments from a diversified group of limited partners from around the world. Chad Pike, Co-Head of Blackstone Real Estate, said the capital has been raised from both existing and new investors.

“BREP Europe III is well positioned to take advantage of the inevitable recapitalization of the property sector,” he said in a statement. “Given the continued deterioration in the global economy and the lagging nature of the real estate market, we will remain disciplined and cautious in deploying this capital over the coming years.”

“That certainly shows a significant vote of confidence in European property, particularly in Germany,” Raffaele Lino, board member of the Dsseldorf-based WGF real estate trading group, told PFE recently. “We certainly share their more optimistic outlook.”

Commented Christoph Wittkop, MD of the CRE Resolution asset manager of the Colonia Real Estate group: “These kinds of investors tend to have a longer-term horizon. Clearly they are raising funds now because they have seen that there are indeed opportunities in the market, and they will deploy the money quite carefully over the next few years.”

Blackstone has raised over $28 billion for real estate investment since it began in the business in 1997.