Scape Australia has acquired a portfolio of student housing assets from a Sydney university for its Scape Student Core Fund.

It is believed that Scape Australia paid University of Technology Sydney A$95m (€59m) for the portfolio of 428 beds on Sydney CBD’s fringe.

Craig Carracher, co-founder and executive chairman of Scape Australia, declined to comment on the price paid for the portfolio, but he told IPE Real Assets the fund had held a fourth round of capital raising to pay for the acquisition.

With the latest round, he said, the core fund had raised equity of more than A$2bn and owned assets worth some A$4.5bn.

Carracher said the key investors in the fund were APG, AXA IM, Allianz and Bouwinvest, with four founders of the Scape business in Australia, who had a 2% interest, also taking part in the latest capital raising.

Carracher said Scape Australia was on track to establish 25,000 student beds in Australia. “We have 16,000 beds today, we have 6,000 under construction and approved for development, and we are working on a further 3,000.”

Scape’s investors remained committed and optimistic about the long-term future of student accommodation in Australia in spite of the disruptions wrought by COVID-19, he said.

International travel bans had dramatically reduced occupancies in the portfolio, to an average of 25% nationally.

The company is working the NSW state government on a pilot plan to return international students, hopefully starting from November.

“The current rule for incoming students is they must have vaccination and still do quarantine. We are confident it is very likely that the review on vaccines will be done before the end of the year.”

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