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May 30, 2022

Brookfield sells student housing portfolio to GIC and Greystar

Greg Newman discusses Brookfield Infrastructure

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GIC Pte. and Greystar Real Estate Partners have agreed to buy one of the UK’s largest student-accommodation businesses from Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

The Singaporean wealth fund and US-based property investor announced the takeover of the Student Roost portfolio in a statement on Monday. Financial details were not disclosed. 

The deal values Student Roost at roughly £3.3 billion (US$4.2 billion), people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. 

Student housing continues to be popular among financial investors in the UK, with the number students vastly outnumbering rooms available in purpose-built accommodation. The shortage is being exacerbated as international students return to the UK amid a removal of pandemic-era lockdowns and quarantines.

“We expect student enrolment to grow over the longer term,” Tracy Stroh, GIC’s region head of Europe, real estate, said in Monday’s statement. “This will boost demand for well-located, purpose-built student accommodation.”

Student Roost operates in more than 20 cities across the UK. Its portfolio comprises over 23,000 beds, and there are plans to develop about 3,000 more, according to the statement. It drew interest from private equity and strategic bidders, including Blackstone Inc. and Unite Group Plc, Bloomberg News reported previously. 

Toronto-based Brookfield entered the UK student housing market in 2016 when it bought a portfolio of roughly 5,000 beds from Avenue Capital Group and developed it into what is now Student Roost. 

The sale of the business is one of the largest deals in the sector since Blackstone agreed to buy the iQ Student Accommodation business from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the Wellcome Trust for about US$6 billion in 2020.