• Portfolio of operational and forward-funded schemes sold, offering over 2,000 beds in Bath, Nottingham, Swansea, Bristol and Glasgow 
  • EQT Exeter’s first UK PBSA investment
  • Watkin Jones Group’s rental home manager, Fresh, to manage the schemes

Watkin Jones Group (“Watkin Jones”), the UK's leading developer and manager of residential for rent homes, has agreed the sale of a portfolio of five purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) schemes to EQT Exeter’s EQT Real Estate II fund (“EQT Exeter”).

The transaction is EQT Exeter’s first investment in UK PBSA and includes a range of high-quality projects in prime cities with strong and growing student populations that are outpacing supply. The schemes are located in Nottingham, Swansea, Bath, Bristol, and Glasgow. In total the schemes will offer 2,063 beds that will be managed by Watkin Jones’ residential for rent manager, Fresh.

 Lower Parliament St., Nottingham

In line with EQT Exeter and Watkin Jones’ high sustainability standards, the three development assets are set to achieve BREEAM Excellent, with the operational assets having already achieved BREEAM Very Good. All five sites are well located for sustainable transport.

The scheme in Bristol has the benefit a 15-year lease with the University of Bristol, demonstrating the strength of Watkin Jones’ long-standing and successful relationships with universities. 

Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer of Watkin Jones, said: “Securing a new partner of the caliber of EQT Exeter demonstrates the strength of our end-to-end offer to enable institutional capital to access the UK’s living sector, and we look forward to working closely with them into the future. This is an excellent portfolio that attracted significant investor interest, and it will give EQT a good range of highly sustainable schemes across prime university cities.

“Insight from Fresh helps us create the most desirable places in the best locations for residents, so it’s great to know we will be handing these schemes over to their expert management.

“There are strong economic, social and demographic drivers behind the long-term future of UK PBSA as part of the residential for rent sector and we expect to see significant interest from institutions continue.”

  Bath Junction, Bath 

Russell Petrie, Head of Student Housing – Europe, at EQT Exeter said: “This transaction marks a significant milestone for EQT Exeter’s expansion in the European student housing sector, bringing the total number student beds in operation or in development to 5,222 and adding a new country to our European footprint. By selecting the best locations in undersupplied markets coupled with an unwavering focus on tenant experience, we expect these assets to be highly attractive to students by providing an environment where they can thrive both educationally and socially.”

Craig Bryant, Strategy and Business Development Director at Fresh, added: “These are all fantastic schemes in superb locations, and we are looking forward to bringing our award-winning student experience to our new residents in partnership with EQT Exeter. Working with Watkin Jones, we know the quality of the schemes will be high, and that they will meet the latest desires of today’s students.”

EQT Exeter was advised by DLA Piper and Capita. Watkin Jones was advised by Mishcon de Reya.