9 January 2019
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
The Unite Group plc, the UK's leading 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 2018.
At 31 December 2018, USAF's property portfolio was independently valued at £2,254 million, representing a like-for-like increase of 1.1% during the quarter and 5.0% over the full year. The portfolio comprises 23,483 beds in 63 properties across 21 University towns and cities in the UK.
LSAV's investment portfolio was independently valued at £1,243 million, up 2.7% in the quarter on a like-for-like basis and 8.4% over the full year. LSAV's investment portfolio comprises 8,354 beds across 12 properties in London and Aston Student Village in Birmingham.
The increase in valuations is driven by a combination of rental growth and yield compression across the portfolio. The USAF portfolio is valued at an average yield of 5.3% and LSAV's portfolio at 4.5% representing 10 basis points of compression in USAF and 17 basis points of compression in LSAV during the year.
The independent valuation for Unite's wholly owned portfolio, comprising 13,816 beds across 33 properties, will be announced as part of the Group's preliminary statement due to be released on 27 February.
The positive valuation performance is supported by a strong start to the 2019/20 sales cycle which is now well underway. 67% of rooms are now sold for the next academic year with 57% being guaranteed by nominations agreements (66% and 56% at the same time last year).
Joe Lister, Unite Students Chief Financial Officer, commented:
"The USAF and LSAV portfolios have both performed well in 2018 with property valuation growth of 5% and 8% respectively. The performance has been delivered through our partnerships with high quality Universities supporting high levels of occupancy and rental growth.
"Bookings for the 2019/20 academic year have started strongly with 67% of rooms already sold, with 57% guaranteed by nominations agreements at rental levels that are supportive of delivering rental growth in line with our target of 3.0-3.5%."
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer
Candice Macdonald, Head of Communications
Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Tel: +44 7525 592 521
Tel: +44 20 7250 1446
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation serving the country's world-leading higher education sector. We currently provide homes for almost 50,000 students in circa 130 properties across 22 leading university towns and cities in England and Scotland. Unite also has a strong development pipeline, which will deliver more than 6,000 beds in the next three years.
Our 1,400 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 unrivalled insight into students' needs and preferences.
Unite's accommodation is high quality, safe and secure, and located close to university campuses, transport links and local amenities. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security, fortnightly cleaning services 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 though partnerships with mid and high tariff universities which are experiencing record levels of student demand. We currently partner with 60 higher education institutions, guaranteeing that approximately 60% of our rooms are let under multi-year, '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 £2 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 250 young people working in close collaboration with 28 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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