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AXA IM - Real Assets and Greystar JV acquires Spain’s largest student accommodation portfolio

AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets (AXA IM - Real Assets) has agreed to acquire, on behalf of its clients and in a JV with a Dutch institutional investor and Greystar, all 37 Spanish student accommodation facilities owned by Resa. 

The transaction marks AXA IM - Real Assets’ entry into the European student accommodation sector and is the first joint venture it has undertaken with these two JV partners. AXA IM - Real Assets, on behalf of its clients, and the Dutch institutional investor have acquired equal sized shares representing the substantial majority holding in the portfolio, while Greystar, which has also purchased the RESA operating business and will act as property, development and asset manager for the portfolio, has bought the remaining balance.
The Resa portfolio comprises 9,309 student beds across 33 currently operational assets and four development projects located over 19 Spanish cities, making this the largest ever student housing acquisition on the Iberian Peninsula. 
The Resa portfolio currently represents approximately 10 per cent of Spain’s total purpose built student housing provision. In what is a significantly undersupplied market in one of Europe’s fastest growing economies, AXA IM - Real Assets and its partners intend to grow the Spanish student accommodation portfolio by investing in further facilities and developments.
This transaction comes shortly after the acquisition by AXA IM - Real Assets, on behalf of one of its clients, of a majority stake in University Center Chicago, a 1,732-bed student housing property located in downtown Chicago, Illinois in July 2017.
Laurent Lavergne (pictured), Head of Separate Accounts at AXA IM - Real Assets, says: “This transaction provides us with a rare opportunity to acquire, on behalf of our clients, a large scale and extremely high quality portfolio of student accommodation, which is also managed by Spain’s leading halls of residence operator – Resa. It also marks a number of significant firsts for us, being our first investment into this asset class in Europe and our first joint venture with our two JV partners.” 
“Student accommodation is an asset class of real interest to us, offering extremely visible income streams that are backed by operational businesses and dislocated from real estate market cycles. The Spanish student accommodation market is also both highly fragmented and undersupplied and therefore presents us with an opportunity to grow our portfolio by investing further in our Resa joint venture. We are also very pleased to be working alongside these new partners, two globally renowned asset and investment management businesses, for the first time.”
Steven Zeeman, Managing Director, Investment Management – Netherlands, Greystar: “Resa is Spain’s leading student housing brand by some margin and we’re delighted to acquire the company to add to Greystar’s growing European platform. We’ve identified Spain as a territory with significant potential – the country is presently one of Europe’s fastest growing economies and there is now a serious shortage of purpose-built rental accommodation suitable for students and young professionals in the larger cities. As the global provider of this type of housing, we are naturally very excited about the opportunities our venture with AXA IM - Real Assets and the Dutch institutional investor, in combination with the Resa platform, has the potential to create.”

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