Singapore firms partner to launch UK student accommodation fund

Singapore-based Private equity real estate Investment firm Q Investment Partners has partnered with Singaporean property development group Soilbuild, to launch a £200m property development and management platform focused on student accomodation across the United Kingdom.

The two firms have capitalised and underwritten the build-to-core student accomodation platform and are seeking to syndicate up to 45% equity with strategic partnerships, of which around 50% of the assets have already been seeded.

This UK student property partnership marks a significant step in QIP’s strategy to work with strategic, institutional partners to scale its specialist Global Residential Living Platform across the UK, US and Japan. 

The fund will initially be seeded by two prime development opportunities located in York and Newcastle, which will add a total of c.650 beds. Both assets are intended to be operated by Prestige Student Living, the premium brand of Homes for Students.

Strong investor demand for student accommodation exposure

“We are excited to partner with Soilbuild to launch this new UK PBSA platform. As integrated real estate businesses, QIP and Soilbuild share many of the same values and this partnership reaffirms QIP’s significant track record and expertise in the global residential living sector,” said Peter Young, CEO & Co-founder of Q Investment Partners.

“The Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector continues to be increasingly attractive to institutional investors. This partnership demonstrates our continued commitment to the sector and will see QIP leverage our existing platform scale to address the growing demand for high-quality student accommodation in the UK. The result is an attractive proposition for QIP, Soilbuild and strategic LPs: a highly resilient and well-managed income base that translates into competitive risk-adjusted returns, stability and growth.”

Soilbuild Director Lim Han Fen noted the purpose built student accommodation sector has proven to be a non-cyclical asset class that demonstrates its resilience through its strong fundamentals.

“QIP and Soilbuild have significant expertise in providing a full spectrum of real estate solutions, and through this strategic partnership with QIP, we are leading the way to build a scalable portfolio of UK PBSA assets to address the structural undersupply of quality student accommodation in the market,” he said.

This announcement comes at a time of continued resilience for the UK PBSA sector amidst a challenging economic backdrop. UCAS data shows an uptrend in the number of university undergraduates placed for the 2023 academic cycle, with a record one in ten of all placed applicants being from outside of Europe.

The data further suggests a 16% increase in total full-time undergraduate numbers between 2023 and 2030, and the current supply of accommodation is not keeping pace with the increase in student numbers. This is in tandem with the headline rental growth of PBSA, which increased by 2.6% in 2022, and is expected to exceed 5% in 2023.