11 January 2021
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
Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, 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 2020.
At 31 December 2020, USAF's property portfolio was independently valued at £2,798 million, a 0.3% decrease on a like-for-like basis during the quarter and a 1.8% decrease for the year. The portfolio comprises 30,209 beds in 79 properties across 22 University towns and cities in the UK.
LSAV's investment portfolio was independently valued at £1,324 million, down 0.1% in the quarter on a like-for-like basis and down 0.9% for the year. LSAV's investment portfolio comprises 8,354 beds across 12 properties in London and Aston Student Village in Birmingham.
The Q4 valuations reflect the removal of the temporary reduction in stamp duty for residential properties, which is due to come to an end on 31 March 2021. Removing this impact, valuations were up modestly over the quarter for both USAF and LSAV, reflecting a sales performance for 2020/21 in line with the valuers' assumptions.
Overall the USAF portfolio is valued at an average yield of 5.3% and the LSAV portfolio is valued at an average yield of 4.4%, both unchanged over the quarter.
Across the Group's entire property portfolio, 57% of rooms are now sold for the next academic year (64% at the same time last year). We expect strong student demand for 2021/22 from both domestic and international students, but anticipate a later sales cycle than a typical year as a result of current uncertainty relating to Covid-19. As a result, we have increased our focus on retaining existing direct-let customers, which has led to an increased share of sales to re-bookers.
Joe Lister, Unite Students Chief Financial Officer, commented:
"The USAF and LSAV portfolios have both delivered a robust performance in 2020, despite the challenging environment resulting from Covid-19. Bookings for the 2021/22 academic year have started positively with 57% of rooms already sold and success in retaining existing customers. We continue to see strong demand for places at the high-quality Universities with which we partner."
For further information, please contact:
Richard Smith / Joe Lister / Michael Burt Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Unite press office Tel: +44 7754 749 301
Justin Griffiths / Victoria Heslop Tel: +44 20 7250 1446
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, serving the country's world-leading Higher Education sector. We provide homes to 75,000 students across 177 properties in 27 leading University towns and cities. We currently partner with 45 Universities across the UK.
Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a 'Home for Success' for the students who live with us. Unite's accommodation is safe and secure, high quality and affordable. Students live predominantly in ensuite study bedrooms, with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also hold a five-star British Safety Council audit rating.
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. Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the £3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) and the £1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).
For more information, visit:
Unite's corporate website www.unite-group.co.uk
The student site www.unitestudents.com