Liverpool City Council is seeking one or more developers to build 1,500 new homes and bring 1,000 back into use.
Cllr Mayor Joe Anderson said: "Improving our housing stock is one of my top priorities, but it's vital, at a time when we are facing huge economic challenges, that we work creatively with other organisations from the public and private sector.
"Forming an official housing partnership with a private or public sector organisation will bring huge benefits for our city. It will help us help us unlock new investment opportunities and enable us to pool our resources and share expertise. As such, it will play a major role in my pledge to deliver 5,000 new homes, bring 1,000 properties back into use and create and safeguard local jobs."
The council's executive approved the proposal to seek a housing partner on Friday. Currently, there are 2,000 residential units under construction in the city. Proposals from bidders which require the council to underwrite investment will be rejected.
Anderson said: "Work is already underway at more than 30 sites across Liverpool to deliver thousands of new and refurbished homes. I'm now looking forward to us pressing ahead with bringing our new partner on-board, so we can build on this momentum and begin to collaborate on delivering a range of new and exciting housing projects for our city."
The city council hopes to award the contract in July.