GIC, GSA target German student accommodation market

The Singapore SWF again partners with GSA to explore opportunities in Germany’s fragmented but growing student accommodation market.

GIC, Singapore’s $100 billion sovereign wealth fund, has formed a partnership with GSA, a global student accommodation developer, to capture opportunities in the German market. 

The partnership, the second one between the two firms, has been formed with a cornerstone investment in a portfolio of nearly 1,000 student beds, which GSA acquired from a family office in June. The portfolio features properties in Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Munster and Dresden. It also includes a pipeline of 1,500 beds to be expanded through investments, developments and in working with local property companies, according to a joint statement. 

GSA and GIC will target the major university cities in Germany, including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. The properties will be operated under GSA’s Uninest student residences brand.

The investors pointed out that purpose-built and managed student accommodation is a completely new concept for the German rental market. “As Europe’s largest student market, Germany presents a significant opportunity for GSA’s planned European expansion and the company has set an initial target of opening 10,000 beds,” the company said in a statement. “There is a huge number of students studying in Germany, but accommodation is in short supply and purpose-built student accommodation almost non-existent,” added GSA executive chairman Nicholas Porter.

Madeleine Cosgrave, regional head of Europe at GIC Real Estate, also said that GIC saw good opportunities for consolidation, as the market is at an early stage of growth and highly fragmented. 

The German partnership follows the acquisition of a 7,150-bed UK student accommodation portfolio from Oaktree Capital Management, announced last week. Although the deal size has not been disclosed, GIC and GSA billed the deal as the largest transaction in the UK’s student accommodation sector so far this year. 

Headquartered in Dubai, GSA currently runs a portfolio of student accommodation assets valued at $7.5 billion in nine countries.