Both Australia and the UK have witnessed a significant increase in the amount of purpose-built accommodation. In the United Kingdom, the PBSA sector recorded a growth of approximately 5.3% in the market, adding slightly more than 34,000 beds. In Australia, more than 10,850 new beds were added this year with a recorded growth rate of 4.3% over the past five years.
Amid such a fertile industry atmosphere, major companies managed to secure a slightly more significant share for themselves than others through significantly important collaborations and acquisitions. Unite, Singapore Press Holdings, DWS, and Scape are some of the companies that managed to sign significant PBSA transactions in 2019.
In November 2019, Unite group, a student accommodation giant in the UK, and Liberty Living Holdings Inc, a subsidiary of Canada Pension PlanInvestment Board (CPPIB) signed a vital deal. The deal, which was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority after investigations showing that it will not affect competition in the field, was recorded as a successful business investment that managed to satisfy both parties.
To close the deal, Unite issued 72.6 million new ordinary shares at 25 pence each and thus, Liberty got an approximate £18 million stake in Unite. It also got a seat on Unite's board which went to Thomas Jackson, a CPPIB nominated executive director.
Liberty Living had more than 24,000 beds across 51 residences in 19 cities across the UK. Thus, it counts as a significant addition to the 50,000 beds under Unite's management in the country.
In August, DWS Group managed to buy eight accommodations from Vita Student worth £600 million. Located in Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle, these properties had a total of 3,198 beds with three student buildings still under construction.
The accommodation will remain under Vita-Student management; however, this deal along with DWS's purchase of a large-scale development site in Wembley will help DWS secure its place in the PBSA field.
"It allows DWS to increase its presence in a sector offering strong long-term growth prospects while being defensive during the downturn."Said CIO & head of strategy, Matthias Naumann.
Just before the end of 2019, Singapore Press Holdings finalized a deal that added to its portfolio seven student accommodation managed by Student Castle. Five of these buildings are already in operation, York, Cambridge, Bath, Edinburgh, and Durham properties, with two properties under construction in Oxford and Brighton.
This deal cost Singapore Press approximately £411 million adding 2,383 beds, thus contributing to the company's goal of building a sizeable PBSA platform. The total amount of beds under SPH currently amounts to 7,726 beds across 18 cities in the UK and Germany.
Before the end of 2019, another closed deal was the acquisition of Urbanest, the first student accommodation in Australia, by Scape, a major Australian contributor in the PBSA field. The deal, to be finalized in 2020, adds more than 6,805 beds to Scape split across 14 beds in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide.
Previously, Six operational student accommodation buildings in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne were added to the portfolio of Scape in September 2019 as a result of the company's acquisition of Atira Student Living. Scape currently entertains the most significant student housing shares in Australia; however, the demand for more student homes in the country is still on the rise.