Hines has invested in student housing for the first time, taking two German pension funds into the sector.
It acquired six development sites from developer McLaren Property for about £150m (€193m).
The sites – in Cambridge, Oxford, Kingston, Aberdeen and Brighton – will deliver more than 1,100 beds in 2017-18.
Lars Huber, co-chief executive at Hines Europe, said company was following a strategy of asset diversification across the UK and Europe, with global student housing forming part of the move.
“The fundamentals of the UK market are very strong, with growing student-population numbers driven by the strength and reputation of UK universities,” Huber said.
“We hope to further our presence in this burgeoning market, both in the UK and elsewhere, with further announcements soon.”
Hines secured forward funding for the sites and will take on asset management responsibility on completion.