American, British Firms Partner to Develop Student Housing

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and Crossland Property Group will develop four projects totaling 1,267 beds in regional U.K. university cities.

 The Old Printworks in Edinburgh is one of the properties Crosslane developed.
The Old Printworks in Edinburgh is one of the properties Crosslane developed.

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital has formed a joint venture with Crosslane Property Group UK Ltd. to acquire, develop and manage student housing in the UK and continental Europe.

Initially the partners will develop a portfolio of four student housing properties totaling 1,267 beds in Leeds, Coventry, Portsmouth and Swansea, all of which are regional UK university cities. All together the enrolled student population of the four cities is more than 131,000. Gross development value for the four properties will be £125 million (about $175 million).

British Student Housing on a Growth Track

The UK is a growth market for student housing. According to Cushman & Wakefield data, there are 1.7 million full-time students in the country, with a large percentage of them from elsewhere, since British universities are quite competitive worldwide. Currently 23 percent of students in the UK are from outside the country.

To meet demand, a record number of 30,000 beds were delivered in the UK student housing market in 2017, Cushman & Wakefield reported. About 87 percent of those new beds were privately developed, and overall rents were up 2.9 percent year-over-year in 2017 for British student housing properties.

Chicago-based Harrison Street, which also has an office in London, is one of the largest owners of student housing in the United States and Europe. The firm has invested in over 125,000 student beds, with its European student housing portfolio comprising more than 7,000 beds owned or under construction in Ireland, France, Germany and the UK. Most recently, the company acquired a micro-living student housing portfolio comprising more than 1,000 units in German university cities. 

Over the last five years, Crosslane has developed 11 student housing assets in seven British cities representing 2,383 beds. The Manchester-based company has secured 11 further developments representing 3,000 beds to be delivered by 2019, and has a pipeline of an additional 25 developments comprising 6,000 beds for delivery over the next five years. 

Image courtesy of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital