Singaporean Media Conglomerate Acquires £180m Student Property Portfolio

Today, a media conglomerate that is based in Singapore agreed to acquire a series of university accommodation assets in a deal that is worth £180 million. The announcement comes as the demand for the student property market in the United Kingdom exhibits no signs of slowing down.

Unite Students, a student accommodation developer, is looking to reshape its portfolio in an attempt to shift its focus towards the universities in the United Kingdom which have “high and mid-ranked” student take-up, mostly in major cities. It has been able to sell 14 properties to Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) which has been aiming to expand its property investments overseas.

The new UK portfolio of SPH comprises more than 3,000 beds. It is spread out across the nation. It has properties in Birmingham, Plymouth, London, and Bristol.

Unite builds and manages private student halls. It will be receiving approximately £85 million of the sale proceeds. The rest will go into an investment vehicle that was set up by the developer that is called the Unite Student Accommodation Fund, and the London Student Accommodation Joint Venture, a partnership that it has forged with the Singaporean government.

The chief executive of Unite Students, Richard Smith, stated: “This sale is an important part of our ongoing strategy of creating a high-quality portfolio aligned to the universities with the highest student demand and the best long-term growth prospects.”

The release of the said news comes a week after GCP Student Living, a property developer, reported an increase of 23 percent in its portfolio value over the past 12 months amid rising international demand for the top universities of London.

Nick Barker, the finance chief of GCP, stated: “The student market has changed. People used to talk about student property as an alternative asset class but now it’s a mainstream market with sophisticated deep-pocketed investors who see value in student accommodation in London.”