Ivanhoé Cambridge has invested more than A$800m (€516.5m) with the core fund of Australia’s leading student housing operator, Scape Australia.

The investment marks the Canadian investor’s entry into the student housing sector in Asia-Pacific, and is Ivanhoé Cambridge’s single-largest investment in Australia with partners.

Ivanhoé Cambridge is an existing investor in Australian real estate, mostly in logistics. The real estate firm is invested in the student accommodation sector through different vehicles and managers in other parts of the world.

Speaking to IPE Real Assets, George Agethen, co-head of Asia-Pacific of Ivanhoe Cambridge, said: “We have been attracted to student housing in Australia for a long time, then, obviously with the pandemic, we had to park the strategy for a while.

“But ultimately we knew that once borders reopened we were confident that students would come back because Australia is an attractive place for education. It is one of the top three international student markets.”

Agethen said: “We have been familiar with the Scape brand and operations here. We are impressed with how they handled the pandemic and managed their properties.”

He added that he was also comfortable to join other Scape investors, which he referred to as “our peers”, having invested with them in other markets. Other investors in the Scape core student housing fund include APG, AXA IM, Bouwinvest, Allianz and Korea’s NPS.

The Scape core fund has a portfolio of around 14,000 beds, and is poised to grow that to 26,000 when current projects are completed.

Scape Australia CEO and managing director, Stephen Gaitanos said the Ivanhoé Cambridge investment had come at a “very exciting time” with high international student enrolments and recovery of the purpose-built student accommodation sector as education remains a centrepiece of Australia’s global services exports.

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