The Student Housing Investor’s agenda for 2016

2015 is far from over, but it’s already a record-breaking year for student housing. What this means for Investors’ agenda for 2016 was the topic of discussion at a student-housing panel at EXPO REAL on Tuesday, hosted by Bouwfonds IM, and organized by The Class of 2020, Europe’s leading platform for student housing providers.

“What we are seeing now in continental Europe is only the beginning” said Felix Hillen, Managing Director of The Student Hotel. After years of warming up to the sector, investors have discovered it. The Student Hotel last week announced a partnership with APG, who will invest €100M in the company, allowing the hotel/student hybrid to work on its ambitious expansion plans. “We now have six new locations under development, and tomorrow we will announce our first project in Italy,” said Hillen.

“2016 will certainly break records again for continental Europe”, added Tom Wilmot, Acquisitions and Development Manager at Crosslane. “But what we’ve seen in the UK is so extraordinary, I don’t think we’ll see the same volume being traded again for 2016.” Indeed, in the first six months of 2015, £3.8Bn was invested in the UK student housing market, for a large part existing portfolios trading hands. Canadian Pension Plan entered the UK market with the acquisition of Liberty Living for £1.1Bn. Wilmot: “That’s something I don’t think we will see every year.”

But for continental Europe at least, the panel expects another record-year in 2016. Michiel Dubois, Manager Director Residential Real Estate at Bouwfonds: “The extraordinary thing is the speed of changes in the European student housing market. Institutional capital now has found its way into the sector, even though only a few years ago, they had no appetite for student housing.” This also creates pressure to develop the sector. “There are no benchmarks, no indices, but working together as a sector will help us create a more transparent market” said Wilmot.

2016 is also the year Rainer Nonnengässer will be opening the first two locations of MPC Capital’s new StayToo brand in Bonn and Nürnberg. “We believe that in many university cities across Germany there is room for new forms of micro-living.” MPC Capital is looking to open more sites in cities where a strong residential market meets a strong student city, first focusing on the German company’s home-market.

So what does this mean for the panel’s agenda for 2016? It will certainly be a busy and likely a record-breaking year. To learn more about where the investments will be happening, visit The Class Conference on 3 and 4 November in Amsterdam. See www.theclassconference.org.

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