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Unite Offloads In Coventry As Student Housing Appetite Grows

Coventry University's unusual skyline

Unite Students, one of the UK's leading owners, managers and developers of student accommodation, has offloaded two wholly owned properties in Coventry comprising 1,127 beds in a £96M deal.

The properties are being sold to Mapletree Investments and have both now exchanged and completed. The purchase price is in line with book value Unite said.

The two Coventry properties are Callice Court and Millennium View, which offer 736 and 391 beds, respectively. 

The transaction is in line with Unite's stated strategy of recycling capital through disposals to reinvest into its development pipeline, the company said in a statement. Unite retains a presence in the city through its Gosford Gate and Raglan House properties, both of which benefit from nominations agreements, demonstrating the strength of Unite's local university relationships.

"This transaction takes Unite's share of disposals in the year to date to £250M and supports our ongoing strategy of recycling assets to enhance our portfolio quality and maintain financial discipline," Unite Students Chief Executive Richard Smith said. "We intend to dispose of approximately £150-200M of assets per annum over the next three years."

The sale comes as student housing developers step up disposals to meet strong investor interest. In August Deutsche Bank asset management business DWS acquired four Manchester student housing projects with 3,198 beds from Vita for £600M.

Vita said it will scale up its growth as a result of the deal, with expansion in the UK and Europe now a priority.

The sector is continuing to grow. According to newly released data from Knight Frank, the PBSA sector is on course for a £3.2B boost from investors in 2019.

Hines revealed earlier this year that it planned to expand its student housing portfolio in Birmingham and Manchester.