GFH acquires US based student housing portfolio

GFH acquires US based student housing portfolio
This Investment is expected to reflect positively on the Group’s financials and increase the returns for the Group.

MANAMA, BAHRAIN: GFH Financial Group has signed to acquire a $100 million student housing portfolio affiliated to top rated universities located in the United States, a news release said.

The acquisition is in partnership with Student Quarters, an Atlanta based specialist asset manager, who is the sixth largest purchaser of student housing assets in the US and has completed transactions in the space with a total value in excess of US$ 1.4 billion.

GFH’s investment strategy in student housing assets is based on building a diversified portfolio that targets universities within the top 150 universities in the US and that are considered flagship universities in their respective states with strong sporting and academic facilities. These universities have steady growth in enrolments over long periods of time and have large student populations in excess of 20,000.

Over the past year, the student housing market has remained a strong performing sector with approximately 90% average occupancy levels and nearly 100% rental collections, which are backed by parental guarantees. Given the increasing pace at which the US economy is recovering, with the vaccination drive successfully implemented, the prospects for the student housing sector have a positive outlook, making it the optimal environment for GFH to deploy capital in the sector.

The assets acquired include student housing buildings and facilities near the University of Arkansas, Florida State University and University of Tennessee. The assets are within walking distance of their respective affiliated universities and are fully amenitized having been designed specifically to cater to the needs of the modern student.

They offer resort-style pools and sun decks, grilling stations, courtyards, coffee shops, study rooms and fitness centers. Unit layouts are generally one to foursingle bedrooms with private bathrooms.

Commenting, Mr. Awais Majeed, Executive Director Real Estate Investments at GFH, said, “As part of GFH’s growing real estate activities and investments, we’re delighted to initiate our investments in another strategic segment of the US real estate market, the student housing sector. This is another step in further building a diversified portfolio of well positioned, stabilized real estate assets. With scarce comparable supply in flagship universities and growing student enrolment numbers, we see strong prospects for the sector, which we will work to leverage with our partner, Student Quarters, who brings deep rooted knowledge of the US student housing market and an exceptional track record to support income and value generation for GFH and our shareholders.”

Ms. Stephanie J. Lynch, Chief Investment Officer of Student Quarters, added, “Student Quarters and GFH Financial Group are really excited to be purchasing these high-quality well-located assets in exceptional Power Five markets. These will be the first acquisitions for the new partnership, which will bring compelling investment opportunities and demonstrated results to GFH.”

GFH is one of the most recognised financial groups in the Gulf region.

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