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Singapore's Temasek bets big on US student housing

Kayne Anderson sold a 6,000-bed portfolio to the real estate platform of the sovereign wealth fund.

Mapletree Investments, the real estate arm of Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, has made its entrance into the US student housing market.

Mapletree bought a portfolio of 6,000 beds from the Boca Raton, Florida-based alternative investment manager Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors. The portfolio’s seven assets are located across six states and include amenities including pools, study rooms and gyms.

“Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors has invested significant time and resources into positioning these student housing communities to be top-of-the-line residences for college students across the US,” Al Rabil, the firm’s chief executive, told sister publication PERE. “Over the past five years, we have developed and stabilised these properties, and they are now mature, Class A assets. We are pleased that Mapletree recognised the value that we have created and believe that they are the right owner for these seven prime properties.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and spokespeople for both firms declined to comment on the sale price. Mapletree will manage the properties after a transition period where Kayne Anderson will continue to manage the properties for an unspecified period of time, according to a spokeswoman.

In March, Mapletree entered the student housing sector with the acquisition of 25 properties in the UK, a portfolio that also comprised close to 6,000 beds, for £417 million, according to the Financial Times.

“The healthy demand for higher education globally coupled with the quality of academic institutions in the US and UK present a strong investment case for purpose-built student accommodation,” said Hiew Yoon Khong, Mapletree’s chief executive. “In view of the growing demand for quality tertiary education, both from local US and UK as well as international students, we intend to further scale up in these growth markets. Our aim is to build a strong global platform with this defensive and resilient asset class.”

The entrance into US student housing comes as Mapletree seeks to diversify its business outside Asia. Since 2014, the firm has looked to the US, UK and Australia for income-producing assets.