Prime PBSA portfolio sold to EQT Exeter

Watkin Jones announces the sale of a prime purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) portfolio to EQT Exeter.

Ty Nant, Swansea - Watkin Jones | EQT Exeter | PBSA News
Ty Nant, Swansea.

Watkin Jones has agreed the sale of a portfolio of five purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) schemes to EQT Exeter’s EQT Real Estate II fund (EQT Exeter). The transaction is EQT Exeter’s first investment in UK PBSA. EQT Exeter was advised by DLA Piper and Capita, and Watkin Jones was advised by Mishcon de Reya.

“This transaction marks a significant milestone for EQT Exeter’s expansion in the European student housing sector, bringing the total number student beds in operation or in development to 5,222 and adding a new country to our European footprint. By selecting the best locations in undersupplied markets coupled with an unwavering focus on tenant experience, we expect these assets to be highly attractive to students by providing an environment where they can thrive both educationally and socially.”

Russell Petrie, Head of Student Housing – Europe, EQT Exeter
Lower Bristol Road (Bath Junction) student accommodation development - Watkin Jones | EQT Exeter | PBSA News
Lower Bristol Road (Bath Junction) student accommodation development.

The sale includes a range of high-quality projects in prime cities with strong and growing student populations that are outpacing supply. The schemes are located in Nottingham, Swansea, Bath, Bristol and Glasgow, totalling 2,063 beds that will be managed by Watkin Jones’ residential for rent manager, Fresh.

“These are all fantastic schemes in superb locations, and we are looking forward to bringing our award-winning student experience to our new residents in partnership with EQT Exeter. Working with Watkin Jones, we know the quality of the schemes will be high, and that they will meet the latest desires of today’s students.”

Craig Bryant, Strategy and Business Development Director, Fresh
Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham - Watkin Jones | EQT Exeter | PBSA News

In line with EQT Exeter and Watkin Jones’ high sustainability standards, three development assets are set to achieve BREEAM Excellent, with the operational assets having already achieved BREEAM Very Good. All five sites are well located for sustainable transport.

The PBSA scheme in Bristol has the benefit a 15-year lease with the University of Bristol, demonstrating the strength of Watkin Jones’ long-standing and successful relationships with universities.

“Securing a new partner of the calibre of EQT Exeter demonstrates the strength of our end-to-end offer to enable institutional capital to access the UK’s living sector, and we look forward to working closely with them into the future. This is an excellent portfolio that attracted significant investor interest, and it will give EQT a good range of highly sustainable schemes across prime university cities.

“Insight from Fresh helps us create the most desirable places in the best locations for residents, so it’s great to know we will be handing these schemes over to their expert management.

“There are strong economic, social and demographic drivers behind the long-term future of UK PBSA as part of the residential for rent sector and we expect to see significant interest from institutions continue.”

Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer, Watkin Jones