Mapletree makes maiden student accommodation buy of close to 6,000 beds in the US

Mapletree Investments has acquired a portfolio of seven student accommodation assets in the United States.
Mapletree Investments has acquired a portfolio of seven student accommodation assets in the United States. PHOTO: MAPLETREE INVESTMENTS

SINGAPORE - Mapletree Investments, the property arm of Temasek Holdings, has acquired a portfolio of seven student accommodation assets in the United States from Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors.

The deal is Mapletree's first acquisition of student accommodation in the US, the world's largest student accommodation market.

Mapletree said that the portfolio caters to Tier 1 American universities which have good national rankings, with high enrolments. These universities include Georgia State University, Purdue University and Texas State University.

The accommodation properties, which comprise close to 6,000 beds, were built in the last two to three years and come furnished 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 for the seven universities. It added that it was bullish on the US and UK market because of the quality of institutions there.

"In view of the growing demand for quality tertiary education, both from local US and UK 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.

"Our aim is to build a strong global platform with this defensive and resilient asset class," he added.

The company declined to disclose the figure of the deal, but said that the latest acquisition is in line with its strategy to invest beyond Asia, in developed markets such as the US, UK and Australia. It added that total assets under management in these markets were about $3.5 billion and are expected to grow significantly over the next three years.

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

Student accommodation has become an increasingly appealing asset class for many institutional investors.

Last month, 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.