Walker & Dunlop Secures $672M for Student Housing Acquisition

The company arranged the financing through Fannie Mae's Credit Facility execution, an efficient loan structure available for large transactions backed by a number of real estate assets.

moneyBethesda, Md.—Walker & Dunlop Inc. has secured $672 million of financing for the acquisition of University Housing Communities Group Inc. (UHC) by a subsidiary of a joint venture formed by The Scion Group LC, GIC and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

UHC is one of the nation’s highest quality and largest Class A national student housing portfolios. The Walker & Dunlop team, led by Managing Directors Brendan Coleman and Will Baker, arranged the financing through Fannie Mae’s Credit Facility execution, an efficient loan structure available for large transactions backed by a number of real estate assets.

“The biggest challenge in the transaction was the size of the portfolio,” Coleman told MHN.

“Assets were all over the country, some hadn’t come out of the ground yet and some were just finishing construction. Coordinating a portfolio of this size within a tight time frame required considerable collaboration around the world, because our partners were in Singapore, Toronto and Chicago.”

Walker & Dunlop was honored to work with Scion, one of the most experienced and respected student housing owners and operators in the United States, as well as GIC and CPPIB on the funding, Coleman continued.

“It is a true testament to Walker & Dunlop’s scale and strong partnership with Fannie Mae that we were able to provide our client with their preferred financing structure for this acquisition. Our experienced student housing team was successful in meeting the joint venture’s needs on this complex transaction by negotiating a flexible solution with Fannie Mae.”

Scion’s CIO Avi Lewittes noted, “The acquisition of University Housing Communities is strategic for Scion, and the first investment by the joint venture. We were impressed by the commitment and professionalism of the broader Walker & Dunlop and Fannie Mae teams in delivering highly attractive financing terms for this important transaction.”

Walker & Dunlop has consistently been one of Fannie Mae’s top DUS lenders, especially in the student housing sector, said Fannie Mae senior vice president of multifamily Hilary Provinse. “And it was a pleasure working with them on this portfolio. Walker & Dunlop’s in-depth knowledge of Fannie Mae’s many product offerings resulted in the optimal financing structure to fit the borrower’s specific needs,” she observed.

Noting, “our internal credit team is very bullish on student housing and understanding the nuances of student housing,” Baker reported it’s been a busy year for student housing. What’s more, it promises to get busier. “We close a lot of transactions in September and October, so we anticipate a flurry of student housing financing this fall,” he added.

Coleman concluded, “It’s a great time to be a borrower, with rates being so low. We’re gearing up for a very busy second half of the year.”