Barings has agreed the forward purchase of Crown House, a student accommodation asset in Brighton, for £43.7 million from Studious Investment Management.
Due for completion in July 2022, ahead of the 2022 to 2023 academic year, Crown House is located in the heart of the city with easy access to the main Brighton University campus and train station. The scheme will provide a total of 183 beds, including a range of studio accommodation, with views over the city and the sea.
Studious’ repurposing of the 57,000 sq ft building has enhanced its ESG credentials, including through the retention of the embodied carbon in its existing frame.
Barings is now working with the developer to deliver initiatives to build further on its BREEAM Very Good certification and Fitwell accreditation.
According to Barings, Brighton is a popular student city as the location of both Brighton University and the University of Sussex, which have a combined student population of nearly 40,000 students.
Brighton’s student population has grown at 3.32% per annum over the last 10 years, which outperforms the national average, while its supply of student accommodation has significantly lagged this expansion with 74% of the city’s students unable to access purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), the company said.
Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: “This has been our second student accommodation acquisition in the UK in the past year and we continue to have substantial and growing appetite for further investments in the sector. Of particular interest are cities where supply remains constrained, the local economy is well diversified and robust, and there is a proven depth of occupier demand. We are interested in the full risk spectrum ranging from Value-add to Core, be it new developments or refurbishments.
“The student accommodation sector has demonstrated its resilience throughout the pandemic – with UCAS applications at an all-time high last year – and Brighton’s chronic undersupply of high-quality PBSA made this a compelling investment opportunity.”
Ben Pile, Head of European Residential Investing and Asset Management at Barings, said: “Living remains one of our preferred sectors at Barings, alongside offices and logistics, and this was a unique opportunity to forward purchase a high-quality asset in a strong university city. We have considerable appetite to invest further into student housing and Build to Rent across our European destinations, including the UK, Nordics, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France and Spain, either as single asset deals or portfolios.”
Sevi Rixson, Managing Director at Studious Investment Management Ltd commented: “Like many of our previous residential and student accommodation investments and developments, we are delighted to be delivering another superb asset, reinvigorating a building and a micro location and delivering to top tier institutional quality and ESG standards. Studious Investment Management continue to build on the £300m+ of student accommodation assets developed and will be actively acquiring and investing in existing and new build assets in the core living sectors.”