Funds & joint ventures
Co-investment model – resilient performance
Unite Students invests in and operates one specialist fund, USAF, and one joint venture, LSAV, with GIC, the Government of Singapore’s portfolio.
USAF and LSAV delivered a resilient performance to December 2020, despite the challenging environment resulting from Covid-19.
Established in 2006, USAF is one of the top-performing funds in the MSCI/AREF UK Specialist Fund Index and is the largest specialist student accommodation fund in the UK. It comprises c.29,000 beds in 71 properties across 19 university towns and cities. Unite holds a 22% stake and acts as the manager of USAF, operating its properties.
The fund focuses on acquiring and operating high-quality student accommodation. Its success is based on the high-quality locations of its assets, due to the fund’s first mover advantage when developing in UK towns and cities. USAF’s portfolio includes a large number of properties connected to Russell Group universities, which deliver consistently high occupancy. These factors all contribute to rental growth.
USAF’s strategy is to remain the leading fund for indirect institutional investment in the UK student accommodation sector; to drive portfolio performance by generating superior rental growth, while maintaining high occupancy and managing risk; and to maintain and enhance the quality of its portfolio through asset management. USAF distributes all of its profits on a quarterly basis.
In May 2021, the joint venture was extended to September 2032, reflecting the delivery of strong development returns and growth in rental income. As part of the extended relationship, Unite and GIC continue to explore opportunities to expand LSAV, through potential acquisitions of investment assets.