Far East Orchard enters student accommodation business in the UK

SINGAPORE - Hospitality firm Far East Orchard (FEOrchard) announced on Friday that it has acquired a portfolio of student accommodation properties in the United Kingdom for £40.9 million.

The properties are in the northern city of Newcastle and are located close to local leading educational institutions.

The investment comprises two land sites, to be developed into purpose-built student accommodation; an existing student accommodation facility; and another such facility undergoing development, and is set to be completed in the second half of this year.

The sites are within walking distance of institutions such as Northumbria University, Newcastle University, Newcastle University Business School and Newcastle College.

The Singapore-listed firm noted that the student accommodation sector is "becoming one of the fastest-growing real estate investment opportunities", while presenting an opening for the group to diversify its property portfolio.

"For the group, this move represents several milestones: an expansion of our property development beyond Singapore into Europe, and an extension of our development capabilities into the student housing sector in the UK, to develop our position as a leading regional real estate player," said FEOrchard group chief executive and managing director Lui Chong Chee.

He added: "As the UK student accommodation market has been structurally undersupplied, we plan to contribute and provide high quality purpose built student housing.

Over the past year, FEOrchard acquired four hotels in Germany and Denmark for €21.0 million, and entered into a residential development joint venture project in Sydney, Australia.