Student housing specialist Scape has launched its second Australian wholesale fund, targeting AUD500m (€332m) from investors.
Existing investors, Australian industry superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds and other global investors have shown interest in the fund.
Craig Carracher, Scape’s Australian director, told IPE Real Assets that a number of investors were consdering committing to the fund.
Scape’s first Australian fund is almost fully invested a year ahead of schedule. “We have AUD30m of the original AUD500m left to invest,” Carracher said.
The capital is deployed in 10 projects mostly in Melbourne and Brisbane, where the first of Scape’s student accommodation will be ready in the next couple of months.
Only 600 of the 5,000 student rooms in the portfolio are located in Sydney, and Carracher said the new fund will focus on this city, where for the first time in three years the market for development sites is opening up.
“We have been negotiating for a marque site in a prime Sydney location for five years and have yet to close the deal,” he said.
The second fund will develop 5,000 student beds, bringing its total portfolio to 10,000.
Scape established its first Australian wholesale fund in 2015, intially raising AUD220m, before increasing this to AUD500m. Dutch pension fund manager APG increased its investment in the fund three times.
Another Dutch pension fund investor Bouwinvest, and ICBCI, the real estate arm of Chinese financial group giant ICBC, are co-investors in the fund.
Carracher said global investors are looking to back branded providers.“In the last three months we have been approached by several large offshore groups seeking to buy our entire platform.
“Whilst we are flattered and open to discussion, our intention is to build up a student housing platform.”
Carracher hopes Scape will become synonymous with student housing. “We seek to be like Goodman Group is to logistics, and Westfield is to shopping centres,” he said.
“Sydney and Melbourne, both have more international students than Boston in the US.
“Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane rank among the world’s top 10-15 cities for education.”