The William Pears Group has paid more than £20m for 400 houses and flats grouped in five former Business Expansion Schemes, known as the Homeshare Group of Companies.

The portfolio was put together by NatWest. The sale, agreed at the end of last year, gives a gross rental income of £1.9m and a gross yield of 9%. Only one in 10 of the homes is empty; the rest are let to private tenants and managed by Countrywide Property Management.

Pears has now bought more than 1,000 homes in the last 12 months. Director Trevor Pears said that he wanted to buy another 1,000 homes in the next 12 months.

The bank was advised by DTZ Pieda Consulting.

The deal comes a week after Coal Pension Properties bought 41 flats and houses for £11m as part of plans to diversify into residential property investment. The portfolio was bought from Unilever, which houses its overseas employees in the homes, which range in value from £100,000 to £600,000.