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Mapletree acquires U.S. student housing portfolio

by Andrea Waitrovich

Singapore-based Mapletree Investments has acquired a portfolio of assets from Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors. The sales price was $1.6 billion.

The acquisition comprises eight purpose-built student housing assets with 3,611 beds in the United States and 140 beds in Canada, and four multifamily assets with 1,388 units in the United States.

The eight student housing assets are well-located abutting university campuses, on average 0.2 miles to their respective universities, the majority of which are ranked as Tier 1. These are purpose-built, well-designed assets that have strong occupancy above 90 percent. They are positioned for further growth as the majority of properties have been completed over the past three years.

In 2016, there were 330 recorded student housing transactions totaling more than $6.6 billion in sales with an average sales price of $26.4 million (252 of 330 properties reported). Total reported transactions increased from 221 in 2015 to 330 in 2016, according to Colliers International. Total sales volume also increased by more than 62 percent from $4.0 billion in 2015.

Developers have plans to build 45,700 beds of new purpose-built student housing for the school year starting in the fall 2017, according to the latest data from research firm Axiometrics.

The number of new beds being delivered has remained stable since 2015. Construction peaked in 2013 and 2014 at more than 60,000 beds a year, then fell as developers worried about oversupply and falling enrollment.

Axiometrics looked at the five university markets (University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University, University of Maryland, University of Florida and Louisiana State University) that are scheduled to receive the most new beds in fall 2017. Rents grew at least by 2.0 percent in all of these markets in 2016 compared with the year before — though at two of the five schools rent growth is projected to dip slightly below 2.0 percent in 2017. New student housing remains competitive at these schools partly because the average per-bed rent at these new properties was less than the average for university-owned housing.

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