Real estate investment firm Cain International has partnered with Fusion Students to create a £1.5bn (€1.74bn) UK student housing venture.

Cain said the newly created joint venture with developer Fusion will invest in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) across popular UK university cities.

It said the joint venture is already in talks to acquire assets in Portsmouth, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and London totalling over 3,000 beds as part of a plan to create a portfolio of between 7,500 to 10,000 beds worth £1.5bn.

The partnership’s plan is to make acquisitions across major university cities via the forward funding and forward purchase of new schemes both together and with other developers, Cain said.

Richard Pilkington, senior managing director, head of European real estate at Cain International, said: “The PBSA sector has proven robust over the course of the pandemic and with UCAS applications at an all-time high last year, this is only set to grow further as the value of a premium education retains its appeal.

“However, with increasingly stringent ESG criteria and expectations from students, we believe there is a significant opportunity to bring more high-quality products to an increasingly bifurcated and undersupplied market.”

Nigel Henry, co-founder of Fusion Students, said: “Since 2013, we have secured more than 7,500 student beds in prime university cities throughout the UK, so this new joint venture is an exciting opportunity to build scale and double the size of our portfolio with a highly-regarded partner.

“We will target leading university cities that attract high levels of international students and are looking forward to working with Cain in the months and years ahead.”

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