- 2018 will see increased development activity with institutional capital backing local development partners across the continent.
- New Cushman & Wakefield European student accommodation investment and advisory team targeting growth of student sector across Europe.
The rising demand for global Higher Education continues to attract institutional capital to invest in European student accommodation. 2017 saw some €13.6 billion of student accommodation transactions across the continent, up 29% on the previous year, according to a new investment guide from Cushman & Wakefield.
The firm’s latest Student Accommodation Guide highlights trends in European markets and showcases those markets where student accommodation investment interest is increasing. The report shows that Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has moved out of the shadow of “alternative” real estate, and is forming a key component of real estate investor allocations across the globe.
Coupled with the growing global demand for higher education, which is being driven by shifting demographics and wealth distribution, the report states that the sector is likely to thrive and diversify for the foreseeable future. As a result, competition and activity has amplified across European real estate markets, with investors seeking student accommodation investment across the risk spectrum and multiple geographies.
Data transparency across the continent remains in its infancy as the sector evolves, especially as many European countries also classify other micro-living concepts as student accommodation. Nonetheless, in the last 12 months, demand for exposure to European student accommodation has increased amongst global investors.
Among the fast growing European markets highlighted in the report is Germany, which has the largest student population in Europe, and has seen student numbers grow substantially relative to other countries over the past 10 years. The positive demand story and stable investment environment has seen a large amount of international capital looking to invest in the sector, with Brookfield, GIC, Allianz, BVK and Harrison Street all entering the market over the past 18 months.
Another market which has seen significant growth was Spain, where some €600m of transactions were completed in 2017, driven by the sale of two large portfolios to new market entrants: GSA, and a consortium of AXA, CBREGIP, and Greystar. Spain remains an attractive market in which to grow scale, driven by internationally recognised universities, increasing international student numbers and low accommodation provision rates.
Although portfolio deals in mainland Europe have so far been limited due to a lack of developed stock in the market, Cushman and Wakefield expect that 2018 will see increased development activity backed by institutional capital.
Paddy Allen, Partner at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “We now live in a world where the student population is more internationally mobile, more flexible and ultimately has more choice about what and how to study. As a result, customer demand for student accommodation shows no signs of abating any time soon.
“Due to the evolving nature of the sector across Europe and increasing capital allocation, investors must become more creative in how they invest to gain or increase exposure. Operational strategy is as fundamental as the bricks and mortar, and presents both a risk and an opportunity when investing into the sector, it is vital to both drive asset performance and access opportunities.
“Early mover advantage still exists in many European locations, with opportunities to introduce new product into fundamentally undersupplied residential markets. Cushman & Wakefield’s dedicated European Student Accommodation investment team has been designed to help investors take advantage of the evolving market across Europe.”
About Cushman & Wakefield
Founded in 1917 in New York, the brand celebrates 100 years. Now Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global real estate services firm with revenue of $6 billion and 45,000 employees in more than 70 countries who help occupiers and investors optimize the value of their real estate by combining the global perspective and deep local knowledge with an impressive platform of real estate solutions. Ukrainian office of Cushman & Wakefield formerly was trading as DTZ. Core services are agency leasing, capital markets and land investments, facility services, global occupier services, development consultancy, tenant representation, and valuation and advisory. To learn more, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com.ua