24 April 2019 – El Confidencial
The student hall sector is on a roll. With almost fifty projects underway (47) and 17,500 new beds to be added to the existing portfolio by 2022, experts forecast total investment of €1 billion in the sector over the next 4 years.
In 2017, investment in the sector amounted to €560 million, ten times higher than the figure recorded in 2016 (€50 million). Last year, the number dropped to €141 million, but according to Nick Wride, Director of Living and Alternatives at JLL Spain, that was “due to a lack of residences in operation available for sale”. Moreover, it was still the highest figure ever recorded excluding corporate transactions – the data in 2017 was impacted by the completion of 2 large corporate deals.
Last year, 18 operations were closed involving the purchase of land or buildings for conversion. 55% of the investment was undertaken in Madrid and Barcelona, with the remaining 45% made in the main regional cities, such as Málaga, Sevilla and Granada. The operators behind the new beds under construction include Nexo, Resa, WPCarey, Invesco, CBRE GI, Axa and GSA, amongst others.
Student halls offer some of the highest yields in the sector: 5.5% in the secondary cities and 5% in Madrid and Barcelona, in line with those generated by nursing homes (5.5%) and logistics assets (5%), but well above those seen in other segments such as retail premises (3.15%), offices (3.50%), residential (3.50%) and hotels (4%).
The reason is the enormous demand that exists for these types of assets. In Spain, almost half a million students need accommodation, but there are currently just 91,000 student beds. The gap is clear, and growing, boosted by an increase in the number of domestic and international students travelling away from home to study. Those not finding student accommodation have to rent in the private market – an informal, heterogeneous, inflexible and potentially expensive option (particularly in Madrid and Barcelona where prices are soaring).
All this makes the market for student accommodation extremely attractive.
Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)
Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake