Round Hill Capital seals deal for new PBSA investment in Spain

20 January 2021 | Investment

Round Hill Capital (RHC), a leading global real estate investment, development and asset management firm, has secured a deal to acquire a 12,800 square metre site for its first purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development in Spain.

Located in the Aravaca district of Madrid, the 500-bed scheme will introduce high-quality student housing to the city. Construction is set to start this year and the development is scheduled to be ready for occupation for the 2023/24 academic year.

The deal marks Round Hill Capital’s 23rd PBSA investment in continental Europe, bringing its current portfolio to over 9,590 beds. The deal highlights the appetite institutional investors have for European and US accommodation in the current economic climate.

The company is actively seeking further investments in Spain as it looks to build on its expansive portfolio across the continent. In the 2018/19 academic year, there were only 20,693 PBSA beds in Madrid to meet a demand estimated at 114,000.

Michael Bickford, founder and chief executive officer at Round Hill Capital, comments: “There is an undersupply of high-quality student accommodation in Madrid and this real estate infrastructure is critical for attracting students to the city who will support its continued development and the attraction of foreign investment.”

“Despite multiple leading universities being located in Madrid, many students struggle to find acceptable accommodation because the sector has been woefully under invested in. We look forward to our new development helping to address this problem, in a vibrant area that benefits from an array of shops, restaurants and bars.”

The development benefits from a modern design and layout and will provide students with high-quality services and amenities rarely found in Spanish student housing.

These include high velocity WiFi, a year-round events programme, communal study areas, a gym/wellness room, rooftop terrace, swimming pool, a cinema room, laundry, bike storage, car parking, 24-hour security and attractive landscaped outdoor spaces.

Bickford says although Covid-19 presents short-term challenges, student accommodation is a ‘defensive counter’ long-term real estate investment.

He adds: “Previous recessions have shown demand for education remains strong, as students tend to invest more in their education when jobs markets are more competitive. Europe’s universities will always be attractive to international students, who come to the continent to enjoy its unique culture as well as study.”

Upon completion, Nido Student, the award-winning specialist PBSA brand, will operate the development. Known for its focus on student wellbeing, sustainability, design and technology, Nido is an established operator for European student accommodation and helps to build real communities that allow residents to thrive.

Nido currently operates 28 student residences across Europe with over 7,000 beds, with an additional secured pipeline of 3,000-plus beds that will be mobilised in the coming years. The group has a target of 20,000 beds under management by 2025.

Brian Welsh, chief executive officer at Nido Student, says: “As Europe’s leading operator of high-quality private student accommodation, we look forward to bringing our wealth of expertise to this new development as we continue to expand the international Nido Student community.”

“Over the past few years, we have continued to develop and refine our strong focus on wellbeing, technology and experience – placing students at the heart of everything we do. Madrid is vastly undersupplied in high-quality purpose-built student accommodation and so we are genuinely excited to bring the renowned Nido Student brand and all it represents to the Spanish capital.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.