Unite sells student housing sites in £295m deal

Unite, the student accommodation developer, has sold off 13 properties to fund manager Brookfield in a £295 million deal that includes several sites north of the Border.

The deal includes student housing schemes in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

The sale encompasses a portfolio of properties located in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Liverpool and York totalling 4,175 beds.

Unite said its share of the deal amounts to £102m, with the cash being used to fund further growth in mid- to high-ranked university locations with the most secure long-term growth prospects.

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Part of the proceeds will be injected into the company’s recent 3,100-bed on-campus acquisition at Aston University and the remainder “recycled into Unite’s development activity and further high quality investment properties”.

The move marks the first stage of the group’s plan to “recycle” some £150m to £200m of assets during 2017 to take advantage of the “ongoing strength in the investment market for well let student accommodation”.

Unite chief executive Richard Smith said: “This sale is an important part of our strategy to recycle capital to fund our ongoing investments, focused on the strongest university towns and cities, where we have deep university relationships and where we can provide the best accommodation and services for our students.

“Our development pipeline supports further earnings growth as we continue to invest in strong student markets.”

Unite Students is the UK’s largest and most established manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation. It provides a home for around 50,000 students, in more than 140 properties, across 28 cities.