QUARTERLY VALUATION AND RESERVATIONS UPDATESource: RNS
8 July 2021
THE UNITE GROUP PLC
('Unite Students', 'Unite', the 'Group', or the 'Company')
QUARTERLY VALUATION AND RESERVATIONS UPDATE
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 30 June 2021, together with an update on reservations for the 2021/22 academic year.
At 30 June 2021, USAF's property portfolio was independently valued at £2,795 million, reflecting a 1.4% increase on a like-for-like basis during the quarter. The portfolio comprises 29,627 beds in 76 properties across 20 University towns and cities in the UK.
LSAV's investment portfolio was independently valued at £1,702 million, reflecting a 1.9% increase and 2bps of yield compression on a like-for-like basis during the quarter. Following the acquisition of a further two London properties from Unite during the quarter, LSAV's investment portfolio now comprises 9,716 beds across 14 properties in London and Aston Student Village in Birmingham.
The like-for-like valuation increase in Q2 reflects the sales performance to date for the 2021/22 academic year and the expectation of a return to full occupancy, as well as the impact of yield compression in LSAV. The USAF and LSAV portfolios are valued at weighted average yields of 5.3% and 4.3% respectively.
We have seen a continuation of our strong sales performance during Q2, supported by the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions for Universities. All higher education students were allowed to return to in-person teaching from mid-May and the Government has recently confirmed that there will be no restrictions on in-person teaching and learning in universities from 16 August.
Across the Group's total property portfolio, 83% of rooms are now reserved for the 2021/22 academic year, overtaking the prior year but behind pre-pandemic levels in 2019/20 (2020/21: 81%, 2019/20: 89%), which reflects the impact of Covid-19 as well as a lower level of nomination agreements following our acquisition of Liberty Living in November 2019. The progress in sales is in line with our expectations for a later sales cycle and we remain confident that a record level of student applications will translate into strong demand for our accommodation, particularly following the planned removal of remaining Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July.
We have now collected 95% of rent due for the 2020/21 academic year, excluding the impact of the 10-week rental discount offered to customers for the second semester. This represents 92% of forecast rent for the academic year as a whole. Our rent collection to date remains consistent with our guidance for EPRA EPS of 27-30 pence for FY2021.
Joe Lister, Unite Students Chief Financial Officer, commented:
"The sustained momentum in our sales reflects the strength of student demand for the 2021/22 academic year and greater visibility over an enhanced campus experience this autumn. There remains some uncertainty over travel restrictions for international students and, assuming these are eased in time for the start of the academic year, we anticipate a return to full occupancy and 2-3% rental growth in 2021/22."
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister / Michael Burt
Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Unite press office
Tel: +44 117 450 6300
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 73,000 students across 173 properties in 25 leading University towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 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