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Institutional investors are eyeing student accommodation

Unite Group, the London and Bristol-based student accommodation investor and fund manager, registers an uptake in capital commitments from institutions.

Unite Group, the UK student accommodation investor and fund manager, reported it had seen an “increasing interest” from institutional investors in the sector between July and this month, as it released an interim management statement today.

Chief Executive Mark Allen said the firm was “encouraged by the increasing interest from institutional investors in gaining access to the sector either directly through our ongoing disposals programme or the creation of joint ventures or, indirectly, by participating in our recent placing.”

Unite has been expanding its business on a number of fronts this year, most notably in October when it succeeded in raising £82 million ($136 million; €91.8 million) through a share placing, and in August when it formed a £194 million joint venture with Bahrain-based Oasis Capital Bank to develop its entire 2010 pipeline of 1,119 beds.

The firm said that the student population of the UK had increased by 5.6 percent for the 2009-2010 academic year and that initial application figures for university places were up 11.6 percent from this time last year. Applications for overseas students increased by 16.6 percent.