TREP, Round Hill Eye Germany for Student Housing Investments

The two firms teamed up to acquire and renovate 13 student housing assets in nine German cities. Expansion plans include new development.
One of the German student housing assets. Image courtesy of TREP and Round Hill Capital

Citing the lack of sufficient housing to serve Germany’s large and growing student population, TPG Real Estate Partners and European property investor Round Hill Capital have formed a strategic venture to acquire and reposition student housing in Germany.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the venture’s first deal—the purchase of 13 assets with a total of 2,100 units across nine German cities from student housing platform Deutsche Real Estate Funds. The portfolio consists of properties in Berlin, Bochum, Bremen, Essen, Halle, Kiel, Ludwigsburg, Siegen and Stuttgart that are within easy commuting distance to some of Germany’s major universities.

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The strategic venture plans to leverage TREP and Round Hill’s experience in managing and investing in European real estate portfolios to add value to the properties through renovations and operational improvements. TREP, the real estate equity investment platform of global alternative asset firm TPG, and Round Hill also plan to develop new purpose-built properties in select university cities and towns in Germany.

Michael Abel, TREP partner, noted that despite Germany’s large and growing student population, the student housing sector is still underdeveloped and there are few institutional operators of scale.

Michael Bickford, founder & CEO of Round Hill Capital, pointed to his firm’s 17-year track record of successfully investing and operating residential housing in Germany as well as its experience investing in and managing student accommodations. Since 2002, Round Hill has acquired and repositioned more than 110,000 residential units and student housing beds for long-term institutional ownership. The firm and its affiliates currently own and manage, with its local management partner Residea Immobilien Management, more than 6,000 units in Germany for several institutional and private clients.

Growing Sector

TREP and Round Hill first teamed up in November 2018 to acquire property in Lisbon, Portugal, to develop student and residential housing. 

Other investors are also seeking out student housing assets in Europe. In April, a joint venture between Global Student Accommodation Group and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital agreed to acquire more than 10,000 student housing beds across Spain, with plans to invest more than $845.5 million in university cities in the country, including Barcelona and Madrid.

Last year, Harrison Street acquired a micro-living student housing portfolio comprising more than 1,000 units in German university cities, including Berlin, Bonn, Leipzig and Nuremberg.

TREP Funds

In March, TREP announced the closing of its latest opportunity fund, TPG Real Estate Partners III. The fund secured more than $3.7 billion in capital commitments. The firm said it planned to invest in commercial and residential assets across the United States and Europe. Also earlier this year, TREP closed its latest Asia-focused private equity fund, TPG Capital Asia VII. That fund raised more than $4.6 billion in commitments.