UK Firm, Oxford University Partner in $5B Plan

A London-based financial services company and the university are teaming up to build homes for staff and students in and around Oxford.
Oxford University. Image courtesy of Legal & General via Getty Images

Legal & General, a London-based financial services firm, has formed a partnership with Oxford University and will invest $5 billion to develop housing for the institution’s staff and students, along with science and innovation facilities in and around the university.

The 50-50 partnership will seek to create more affordable housing and commercial space for the university, which is sorely needed. Included in the plans will be 1,000 subsidized homes for staff, according to the Financial Times. The firm will serve as a funding and development partner for the prestigious university over the next 10 years, providing capital from Legal & General’s shareholder, annuity and LGIM-managed funds. 

Oxford University, located about 60 miles northwest of London, is in one of the fastest growing cities in the U.K., according to The Centre for Cities’ 2016 “Fast Growth Cities” report. Between 2004 and 2014, the population grew by 11.6 percent.

Sector on the rise

Student housing in the U.K. has been a hot sector over the last several months. In March, a Greystar-led joint venture acquired a 458-bed student housing property in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood for more than $210 million from seller Apache Capital Partners. That acquisition was followed by Singapore Press Holdings adding to its portfolio with the purchase of more than 1,200 beds across three properties in Southampton, Sheffield and Leeds for $173.6 million.

A recent Knight Frank report on the U.K.’s Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector found that the higher education system is expected to grow, with rising demand from local and international students. Overall rents rose 2.26 percent for the 2018-2019 academic year, according to the report.