Quarterly Valuation Update
9 January 2020
THE UNITE GROUP PLC
('Unite Students', 'Unite', the 'Group', or the 'Company')
QUARTERLY VALUATION UPDATE FOR THE UNITE UK STUDENT ACCOMMODATION FUND AND THE LONDON STUDENT ACCOMMODATION JOINT VENTURE
Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, manager and developer of student accommodation, announces the quarterly property valuation of the Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund ('USAF') and the London Student Accommodation Joint Venture ('LSAV') as at 31 December 2019.
At 31 December 2019, USAF's property portfolio was independently valued at £2,850 million, representing a like-for-like increase of 0.8% during the quarter and 3.1% for the year. The portfolio comprises 30,209 beds in 79 properties across 22 University towns and cities in the UK.
LSAV's investment portfolio was independently valued at £1,335 million, up 2.7% in the quarter on a like-for-like basis and 7.4% for the year. LSAV's investment portfolio comprises 8,354 beds across 12 properties in London and Aston Student Village in Birmingham.
The like-for-like valuation increase is predominantly driven by rental growth in USAF and a combination of rental growth and yield compression in LSAV. Overall the USAF portfolio is valued at an average yield of 5.3% and the LSAV portfolio is valued at an average yield of 4.4%.
The positive valuation performances in USAF and LSAV are further supported by a strong start to the 2020/21 sales cycle which is now well underway. Across the Group's entire property portfolio, 68% (67% at the same time last year) of rooms are now sold for the next academic year.
Joe Lister, Unite Students Chief Financial Officer, commented:
"The USAF and LSAV portfolios have both performed well in 2019 with property valuation growth of 3.1% and 7.4% respectively. Returns have been delivered through high levels of occupancy, rental growth and have been enhanced by yield compression in London.
Bookings for the 2020/21 academic year have started strongly with 68% of rooms already sold, ahead of the previous year, reflecting the continued strong demand for places at the high-quality universities with which we partner."
For further information, please contact:
Richard Smith / Joe Lister / Paul Richmond Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Justin Griffiths/ Victoria Heslop Tel: +44 20 7250 1446
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation serving the country's world-leading higher education sector.
Following our successful £1.4bn acquisition of Liberty Living's UK assets in November 2019, we now provide homes to c. 75,000 students across 175 properties in 27 leading university towns and cities.
Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide the students who live with us a 'Home for Success' and to be the most trusted brand in the sector. We do this through quality service, quality people and quality properties, all designed on the basis of an excellent insight into students' needs and preferences.
Unite's accommodation is high quality, safe and secure, and located where students want to live. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. MyUnite, our mobile app, provides practical support such as instant messaging and maintenance requests.
Our commitment to customer service is powered by an innovative, in-house operating platform. It provides a wide range of benefits to our students, such as an optimised online booking process, as well as providing us with a unique ability to drive value from our portfolio through scale efficiencies and revenue management.
Alongside delivering quality service, our other strategic priority is delivering growing and sustainable earnings, underpinned by a strong capital structure. A key part of this strategy is growing the number of beds let through partnerships with mid and high tariff universities which are experiencing record levels of student demand. We currently partner with 35 universities across the UK, guaranteeing that approximately 60% of our rooms are let under 'nomination agreements' providing high visibility of forward occupancy and rental growth.
Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the £3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF), and the £1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).
Unite is the founder of and major donor to the Unite Foundation, a charitable trust established to support talented students facing challenging financial circumstances through the provision of free accommodation annual scholarships. The Foundation has so far provided scholarships for 434 young people working in close collaboration with 27 partner universities.
Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index.
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