25 April 2018 – El Economista
The Canadian pension fund CPPIB is going to take advantage of the investor appetite that currently exists for student halls of residence by placing the “For Sale” sign up over one of its assets in Spain. Galileo Galilei is the largest accommodation block for students in Valencia and one of the largest in the country, according to confirmation from several sources speaking to this newspaper.
With more than 500 beds, the asset will come onto the market during the course of the next month, given that its owner has entrusted the sales process to the international consultancy firm Savills, which declined to comment.
Currently, this hall of residence, which is the only one located on the campus of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, forms part of the Liberty Living portfolio, one of the largest managers of student halls of residence in the United Kingdom. CPPIB acquired the British group in March 2015 for GBP 1.1 billion (around €1.2 billion) and continued to grow its portfolio.
In December 2016, CPPIB closed an important operation with Blackstone, which divested a portfolio of 13 student halls, located in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, which included Galileo Galilei. For that package, comprising 6,484 beds, the pension fund paid around GBP 460 million (€536 million) to the US firm.
Almost a year and a half later and with the sector in Spain in full boom, CPPIB has decided to put this property on the market in an operation that, according to the experts, could amount to €32 million.
Galileo Galilei currently has 520 beds spread across individual, double and triple rooms, which range in price from €515/month to €846/month. That figure includes all consumption, restaurant services, doctors, cleaning and sports activities.
In addition, the hall of residence offers supplementary services such as laundry, sheet and towel changes, a university support academy for all subjects, IT and nutritional advice, amongst others. Moreover, on the ground floor, the property houses a shopping arcade with restaurants and cafeterias offering special prices for students and various local shops such as a beauty salon, a hairdresser, a print shop, a travel agent, a newsagent, a driving school and a language academy.
With these features and its high occupancy rate, Galileo Galilei is expected to arouse significant interest amongst investors looking to gain positions in the alternative asset market in Spain in the main university cities, such as the case of Valencia. “Since 2016, the city has appeared in the Top 100 ranking of the QS Best Student Cities, which highlights the best cities in the world for students. It is also one of the most sought-after locations by European students participating in the Erasmus program,” says Patricio Palomar, Senior Investment Consultant at Aire Partners.
In fact, the expert highlights the growth potential of the supply in this market, which in its metropolitan area “has around 165,000 students matriculated, a mobility rate of approximately 29% and just 4,123 beds in colleges and halls of residence, which results in a supply rate that falls below the Spanish average”, Moreover, Palomar points out that “the process of economic recovery currently being seen in this area is expected to lead to an increase in demand from domestic and international students alike, and this situation of imbalance may be accentuated even further”.
Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)
Translation: Carmel Drake