Singapore-based Far East Orchard has acquired a purpose‐built student accommodation (PBSA) property in Bristol for £39.3 million.

The freehold property, Kings Square Studio, has a total of 301 beds, with the majority being studios. It is operating at near full occupancy for the current academic year.

The acquisition furthers the group’s strategy of building a lodging platform and brings its total portfolio to 3,561 beds across 12 UK properties.

Bristol has two major universities – the University of Bristol and University of the West of England – and a sizeable full‐time student population. Following the acquisitions last year of 166‐bed St Lawrence House and 133‐bed Harbour Court in Bristol, Kings Square Studio will be Far East Orchard’s third PBSA property in the city. 

Adjacent to the city centre and close to the universities, the property was originally purposed as an office building. It underwent two phases of conversion to student accommodation in 2009 and 2013.

Kings Square Studio will be managed by the facility manager of the group’s existing PBSA properties in Bristol.

Far East Orchard group chief executive Alan Tang Yew Kuen said: “This acquisition reaffirms our approach to invest in university cities with good demand fundamentals. The demand for PBSA in Bristol is supported by the strong and growing student enrolments at two of the largest universities in the Southwest. Notwithstanding the short‐term uncertainties posed by Covid‐19, we expect the demand for student housing to remain supported by two underlying factors – the UK’s well‐established status as a hub of higher education, and students’ unabated desire for an on‐campus experience at leading universities.

“PBSA business is a key pillar of our recurring income streams and will be an important business segment within our strategy of building a lodging platform going forward. We intend to continue building on this strategy, to take advantage of the counter‐cyclical nature of student accommodation assets by building our portfolio in the UK, focusing in cities with high tariff universities and strong student growth.”

The real estate team at law firm Irwin Mitchell advised on the deal.

Date published: 9 December 2020

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