Quebec’s public pension manager and commercial real estate firm Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners expect to double the size of a joint venture they started nearly three years ago to invest in US housing. 

The JV makes preferred equity investments in student housing, manufactured housing and multifamily properties. For the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, it’s part of a broader strategy to diversify its real estate portfolio, which was once overloaded with office and retail properties. 

The original joint venture with CDPQ was for US$250 million and is completely invested, so the partners are now targeting $500 million.  

High interest rates have made it difficult for property owners and developers to finance new projects, and preferred equity offers “a much-needed capital solution in the current lending environment,” Mitch Resnick, president of WDIP, said in a statement Thursday. 

WDIP, which does debt and equity financing and is a division of Walker & Dunlop Inc., has $15.6 billion of commercial real estate investments across hundreds of properties, according to its website. 

“We see solid growth opportunities for the partnership and look forward to continuing to serve as a market leader in this space,” Eric Desjardins, senior director of U.S. residential investments at CDPQ’s Ivanhoé Cambridge arm, said in a statement.