Empiric’s business and trading update – confident outlook for the year

Empiric Student Property's portfolio of PBSA housing will again be effectively full for a third consecutive year.

Room at Empiric Student Property's Nottingham postgraduate scheme | PBSA News
Room at Empiric Student Property's Nottingham postgraduate scheme.

Empiric Student Property plc, the owner and operator of studio-led student accommodation aligned to top-tier universities, has provided a business and trading update as of 22 May 2024.

Academic year 2024/25

Empiric Student Property report that they are encouraged by another strong sales performance for the forthcoming 2024/25 academic year, with 80% of income now contractually secured.

The business continues to expect to deliver another year of strong rental growth, with like for like rent anticipated to grow by at least 6%. Their portfolio will be effectively full for the third consecutive year in a row.

To date, the year has seen another very strong rebooker performance, exceeding expectations and reflecting continued demand for their premium accommodation and service proposition.

This has also contributed to improving customer satisfaction scores for the Hello Student operating brand.

Portfolio management

A planning application has recently been submitted to facilitate an extension and full refurbishment of Empiric Student Property’s existing operational site at Victoria Point, Manchester. If successful, the redeveloped scheme would deliver over 200 new PBSA beds into this acutely undersupplied city.

Following the acquisition of College House, Bristol, in February 2024, Empiric Student Property submitted a planning application to facilitate change of use and the delivery of over 50 new PBSA beds into this strong operational cluster by academic year 2025/26.

Discussions regarding a proposed joint venture focused on the rollout of their exclusive Post Graduate product, continue to progress well, they report.

Empiric Student Property also has over £30m of assets remaining under offer.

Debt and liquidity

As of 31 March 2024, pro forma EPRA LTV was 32.5% (based on 31 December 2023 valuations), with cash and available facilities of £49.3m.

Following the completion of the second tranche of refinancing, in line with the guidance provided, the weighted average cost of debt now stands at 4.6%. The weighted average term to maturity is 5.3 years, with the next material refinancing not now due until 2028.

Dividends

Empiric Student Property report that there is an expectation of meeting a minimum full-year dividend of 3.5 pence per share for 2024 after declaring their first quarter dividend of 0.875 pence per share, in line with this target. 

You can read their previous year’s results here.