Mapletree buys 7 student housing properties in US

The portfolio of seven student accommodation assets acquired by Mapletree caters to some leading American universities with good national rankings and high enrolment. With nearly 6,000 beds in all, the properties were built in the last two to three y
The portfolio of seven student accommodation assets acquired by Mapletree caters to some leading American universities with good national rankings and high enrolment. With nearly 6,000 beds in all, the properties were built in the last two to three years and come with common rooms, gyms and swimming pools.PHOTO: MAPLETREE INVESTMENTS

Deal follows acquisition in Britain as firm plans to scale up investment in such assets

Mapletree Investments, the property arm of Temasek Holdings, has acquired seven student accommodation assets in the US for an undisclosed sum. The deal is Mapletree's first acquisition of such assets in the US, the world's largest student accommodation market.

Mapletree said yesterday that the portfolio caters to some leading American universities with good national rankings and high enrolment. They include Georgia State University, Purdue University and Texas State University.

Mapletree bought the portfolio from Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors. The seven properties, with nearly 6,000 beds in all, were built in the last two to three years and come with common rooms, gyms and swimming pools.

The company said in a press release that there is growing demand for purpose-built student accommodation as supply continues to be limited. "In view of the growing demand for quality tertiary education, both from local (United States and United Kingdom) as well as international students, we intend to further scale up in these growth markets," said Mapletree's group chief executive officer Hiew Yoon Khong.

"The healthy demand for higher education globally, coupled with the quality of academic institutions in the US and UK, present a strong investment case for purpose-built student accommodation."

The company declined to disclose the sum invested, but said that the latest acquisition is in line with its strategy to invest beyond Asia, in developed markets such as the US, Britain and Australia. Total assets under management in these markets were about $3.5 billion as at March 31, and are expected to grow significantly over the next three years.

Earlier this year, Mapletree made its first foray into student housing, acquiring a portfolio of 25 student accommodation assets comprising 5,500 beds in Britain. The Financial Times reported that the deal was worth £417 million (S$710 million).

Property firm Knight Frank, which handled Mapletree's UK deal, told The Financial Times that the sector has been one of the few sectors in the property world delivering consistent rental growth since the economic downturn. It estimated the combined asset value of Britain's purpose-built student accommodation sector at £43 billion.

The asset class has become increasingly appealing to many institutional investors.

In September, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and student accommodation developer GSA acquired a portfolio of nine student accommodation assets in Britain.

GIC said it was the largest student accommodation deal struck in Britain this year, although it declined to disclose the purchase price. The Telegraph reported that the portfolio was worth around £700 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'Mapletree buys 7 student housing properties in US'. Print Edition | Subscribe