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Hines strikes first student housing deal globally

The Houston-based firm has scooped up a €192 million student housing portfolio in the UK, with further purchases in the sector expected to be imminent.

Hines, the global real estate developer and fund manager, has launched its first move into the student housing market with the £150 million (€192 million; $220 million) acquisition of a UK portfolio of six assets.

In March, the Houston-based firm said it would be expanding its European presence by moving into new geographies and real estate sectors. The new transaction, according to Hines, forms a key part of its strategy of diversifying into new property types, which it hopes will to add to its existing portfolio of office, retail, industrial and residential investments. The firm said it expects to further add to its student housing platform, both in the UK and elsewhere, this year.

Lars Huber, co-chief executive officer for Hines Europe, said: “The firm is embarking on a strategy of asset diversification across the UK and Europe, and we are delighted to make Hines’ first venture into student housing globally. The fundamentals of the UK market are very strong with growing student-population numbers driven by the strength and reputation of UK universities. We hope to further our presence in this burgeoning market, both in the UK and elsewhere, with further announcements expected soon.”

A new investment vehicle, owned by a group of German pension funds and managed by Hines, purchased the student housing portfolio from UK property developer McLaren Property. Details of the fund were not disclosed.

The portfolio, which contains 1,100 beds, comprises six UK development sites in Cambridge, Oxford, Kingston, Brighton and Aberdeen, Scotland. Planning consent to develop purpose-built student accommodation has been secured on four sites, with approval on the remaining two expected later this year. Construction work is expected to begin imminently, with the developments expected to complete in 2017 and 2018.

Hines were represented by Savills, Herbert Smith Freehills and Dechert. Tudor Toone and Taylor Wessing acted for McLaren.

Hines has $89.1 billion of real estate assets under management.