Spain’s Student Halls are the Most Profitable in Europe with Yields of 5.5%

14 May 2018 – Eje Prime

As well as being the largest recipient of Erasmus students, Spain is now also one of the most attractive countries for funds and operators specialising in halls of residence. The high demand and shortage of existing supply multiplied the investment in this alternative market ten-fold in 2017, increasing from just over €50 million to €600 million in one year. One of the keys to this growth lies in the profitability of the segment: with a yield (…) of 5.5%, Spain offers the best returns on the whole continent, for nations with more than 1 million students, according to a report from the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

In this hall of residence boom, which has allowed investments in the segment to grow by 29% across Europe, Spain also led the ranking of the largest operations in 2017. The transaction involving Resa’s portfolio, which was sold by Azora to the funds Axa Real Assets and CBRE GI for €400 million was the largest deal closed on the whole continent last year. Moreover, Operation Rio, which involved the sale of Oaktree’s Spanish portfolio to GSA for €180 million, also ranked in the top 3, a podium that was completed by another deal involving GSA, in that case together with GIC, which acquired thousands of beds from LJ Capital in Germany for €250 million.

The increase in investment will be accompanied in 2018 by a greater number of projects under development. As Reno Cardiff, Director of Capital Markets Business Space at Cushman&Wakefield in Spain explained recently in an interview with Eje Prime, “there is a great appetite for this kind of asset, but there is a shortage of supply”.

Due to the lack of stock right across the continent, consultancy firms and real estate experts are promoting the construction of new halls of residence to receive students over the coming years. Moreover, Cushman&Wakefield highlights another change: interest has increased from institutions looking to construct properties to house students, a cohort that was traditionally forced to rent homes from owners who, in many cases, set abusive prices.

Nevertheless, the growing appetite from funds for halls of residence is not driven by social reasons, but rather as the coming together of a sea of opportunities. In addition, the yields, despite having fallen in the last year, are still higher than those of other segments, such as traditional residential, offices and commercial. Only the logistics market offers yields in line with those of university halls of residence (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake