Europa Generation, a joint venture between pan-European real estate investment manager, Europa Capital, and Generation Student, has achieved practical completion of its new development in Oxford whilst also forward funding a new 197-bed purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development in Canterbury with Watkin Jones for €22.8m (£19.6).
Between Towns Court completed in late July and achieved 100% occupancy on opening in September. Located just off the popular Cowley Road, the building provides 140 high-quality en-suite study bedrooms and four studios. The building let quickly whilst under construction reflecting the continuing shortage of purpose-built student accommodation in Oxford, and has proved to be particularly attractive for students studying at Oxford Brookes University, as well as postgraduate students at Oxford University.
Alma Court in Canterbury is already under construction and will offer 156 en-suite study rooms with 41 studios, as well as communal areas for study and recreation. It will be completed in time for the 2020/21 academic year. Canterbury has a total of 25,930 full-time students placing it in the top 20 regional student populations in the UK. Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canterbury has strict planning policies and has a tight supply of PBSA with only 9,800 PBSA beds. The property is well located for the University of Kent whilst also being close to Canterbury Christchurch University and the University of the Creative Arts.
The Europa Generation Student Fund has achieved its 97% occupancy target (101% of budgeted income) for the 2019/20 academic year across its UK student housing portfolio following strong demand from a diversified student base. Approximately a third of students are in their first year of study with an additional third on postgraduate courses. Applications from Chinese students to UK universities increased by more than 30% for this academic year, which is reflected in the portfolio where 43% of the students now come from China, with 37% from the UK, whilst only 6% originate from EU countries.
Tim Turnbull, Partner at Europa Generation, said: “Achieving near full occupancy is a significant milestone for the Fund and demonstrates that demand for high-quality accommodation in strong UK cities, as well as the resilience of the UK PBSA market, despite wider macro uncertainty. The strong performance of our Between Towns Court asset, which has reached 100% occupancy in its first year, is further evidence of this. We expect the Fund’s new asset in Canterbury to be a strong addition whilst growing the portfolio to a point of critical mass with close to 2,000 beds. The opportunities for institutional investors to access the PBSA market in collective vehicles remain limited. Therefore, our ambition is to scale this platform, broaden our investor base and grow the portfolio throughout the United Kingdom.”