Greystar, AXA IM-Real Assets, CBRE GI buy student accommodation assets in Spain

Greystar, AXA IM-Real Assets, CBRE GI buy student accommodation assets in Spain

Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC , AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets (AXA IM – Real Assets), and CBRE Global Investors (CBRE GI) have acquired four freehold student accommodation assets in Spain.

The portfolio, located in Madrid, Valencia and Málaga, comprises 1,100 beds and was purchased from a joint venture between Urbania and Invesco Real Estate by a platform (Platform) which is majority owned by AXA IM – Real Assets and CBRE Global Investment Partners, the indirect strategies business line of CBRE GI, both acting on behalf of clients, alongside Greystar. 

The acquisition constitutes one of the largest transactions in the student accommodation sector in Spain to date – exceeded only by the Platform’s acquisition of all 37 student accommodation assets (9,400 beds) in 2017.

Greystar, which manages the Platform, will operate the new assets under the market leading RESA brand, which it acquired in 2017.  The Platform now owns a total of 11,100 beds across 43 residences in 20 Spanish cities, with the new assets increasing RESA’s offering in Madrid, Valencia and Malaga where the brand is already present and enjoys strong demand. Three of the newly acquired assets are under forward purchase agreements and are in advanced phases of construction with completion expected in March 2021, while the fourth in Madrid is ready for occupation.

“The transaction enables us to strengthen our leadership position as the largest operator of student accommodation in Spain. It is rare to be able to acquire a portfolio of this scale and quality in Spain and it will significantly enhance our existing offering. RESA has remained resilient despite the uncertainty of this year achieving around 97% occupancy, which underpins the strong fundamentals of the student accommodation sector in Spain,” said Juan Manuel Acosta, Managing Director – Spain, Greystar. 

“This acquisition further strengthens our Platform’s position as Spain’s leading student accommodation owner and brings four more high quality purpose built assets into our portfolio, all of which are well located in the capital or other tier one cities.  While there has been some short term uncertainty this year as a result of the pandemic our portfolio has performed well and student accommodation remains one of the residential asset classes we continue to invest in, attracted by the highly visible operationally backed income streams it offers. The Spanish student accommodation market in particular, is also both highly fragmented and undersupplied, presenting an opportunity for further consolidation and growth,” said Esther Escapa, Head of Transactions and Developments for Spain & Portugal at AXA IM – Real Assets.

“This transaction allows us to add four newly purpose build, high quality and sustainable assets to the RESA portfolio, and further strengthens our current offering. We continue to believe in the long-term resilience of the student accommodation sector and are pleased to be growing the portfolio alongside Greystar and AXA IM – Real Assets,” said Line Verroken, Senior Investment Manager, CBRE Global Investment Partners.

Jeffrey Sujar, CEO Alternative Investments, Urbania, said: “This transaction is a key milestone in our strategic plan and will boost Urbania’s growth and leadership position in the development of world class student accommodation in the Iberian Peninsula. The deal demonstrates the resilience of the Student Housing Asset Class during present challenging times and the quality of the assets developed by Urbania.”