Mapletree Investments buys four student housing assets in Britain for over $300 million

Mapletree Investments has bought four student accommodation assets, including Portland Crescent (above) in Leeds. PHOTO: VITA GROUP

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Mapletree Investments has acquired four purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) assets from Vita Group for more than £165 million (about S$306 million), expanding its student housing footprint in Britain.

The four assets total 917 beds in all - a 156-bed asset in Exeter, a 132-bed asset in Bristol, a 308-bed asset in Leeds and a 321-bed asset in Nottingham. They are strategically located within walking distance to Russell Group Universities, as well as in close proximity to amenities such as town centres and train stations, Mapletree highlighted in a release on Monday (Aug 30).

Vita will be tapped as the operator for the four assets.

Mapletree deputy group chief executive Chua Tiow Chye said: "This acquisition of four high-quality assets will enhance the scale and reach of our PBSA presence in the UK. This also underscores our commitment to grow the student accommodation sector as a stable and resilient asset class, with growth anchored by strong underlying and positive demographic and student enrolment trends."

Mr Chua went on to add that the PBSA markets in Britain and United States are showing strong signs of recovery as schools reopen for the new academic year, while the high vaccination rates have resulted in robust pre-leasing rates of student beds for the next academic year.

With this, Mapletree's student accommodation portfolio will total 55 assets worth about $4 billion, with more than 23,000 beds across 37 cities in Britain, the US and Canada. About 60 per cent of these beds are held by Mapletree's private fund, Mapletree Global Student Accommodation Private Trust.

Vita Group chief executive Mark Stott said: "In securing this deal, it provides the business with the capital and the confidence to continue to develop the Vita Group platform to thrive, with an ever-increasing future pipeline of projects."

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