Singapore’s GIC has formed a joint venture with US rental housing operator Greystar to acquire Britain’s third-largest student accommodation provider, Student Roost, as the sovereign wealth fund holds fast to a favoured investment theme stretching back at least six years.
The partnership is buying Student Roost and its 23,000-bed portfolio from a private fund of Canadian asset management giant Brookfield, GIC said Monday in a release. The deal value was not disclosed.
The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, will also secure Student Roost’s 3,000-bed development pipeline for the JV. Student Roost was founded in 2017 and now has more than 50 properties in 22 cities across the UK.
“We are confident that Student Roost will continue to offer high-quality purpose-built student accommodation with good occupancy rates at a competitive rental price point which attracts demand from both local as well as international students,” said Lee Kok Sun, chief investment officer for real estate at GIC.
More British Beds
UK student housing remains a high-conviction strategy for GIC, which earlier hooked up with British operator Unite Students and Dubai-based Global Student Accommodation Group on two separate investment vehicles.
GIC and Unite formed their LSAV joint venture in 2017 and announced their first investment in February of that year with the £227 million acquisition of a five-building, 3,067-bed student housing complex at Aston University in Birmingham. More recently, LSAV acquired two London properties for £342 million ($472 million) in a deal announced last June.
GIC had previously partnered with Global Student Accommodation Group in 2016 to buy a portfolio of UK student housing projects from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. No sales figures were disclosed, but the assets were expected to be worth £700 million when completed.
Tracy Stroh, head of Europe real estate at GIC, said the sovereign investor plans to work with Greystar and Student Roost to deliver value-add such as refurbishing the existing assets.
“We expect student enrolment to grow over the longer term,” Stroh said. “This will boost demand for well-located, purpose-built student accommodation.”
For Greystar, the second-largest student accommodation provider in the US (after American Campus Communities), the deal adds to a portfolio of over 120,000 student beds globally for the South Carolina-based developer.
School’s Still In
Singapore’s other state-backed investors have shown like-minded interest in UK student housing, with Temasek-owned Mapletree Investments acquiring a 917-bed portfolio last August for £165 million ($227 million).
Mapletree’s properties in Nottingham, Leeds, Exeter and Bristol were purchased from Manchester-based residential developer Vita Group, which operates all four under the Vita Student brand.
Earlier in 2021, SGX-listed developer Metro Holdings added a second asset to its student housing fund with the purchase of a 181-bed accommodation near the University of Bristol for £30.1 million ($41.2 million).
Beyond Britain, GIC was identified by market sources as the buyer of a 49 percent stake in an Australian student housing portfolio from investment firm Wee Hur Holdings for A$567.9 million ($407.2 million), as reported by Mingtiandi in April of this year.