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Urbanest Australia looking for a new owner

One of Australia’s largest purpose-built student accommodation providers, Urbanest Australia, is looking for a new owner after it was put up for sale in May by M3 Capital on behalf of Evergreen Real Estate Partners.

Urbanest Australia could fetch up to $2 billion. Photo: UrbanestUrbanest Australia could fetch up to $2 billion. Photo: Urbanest

Australia has a full-time student to bed ratio double that of the US and more than triple that of the UK

The decision to sell off the Australian arm of Urbanest comes after a strategic review of the business, and the market is already teasing a more than $2 billion price tag of the platform which currently has 15 assets and around 7,500 beds.

“We are well positioned to be an industry consolidator in what is currently a growing yet fragmented market”

“Urbanest Australia is the largest and longest standing owner-operator of PBSA in Australia,” said Urbanest Australia chief executive David Munro.

“Our full-service platform, underpinned by 11 years of acquisition, development and operational expertise, means we are well positioned to be an industry consolidator in what is currently a growing yet fragmented market.”

Established in 2008, Urbanest Australia has seen strong demand from both international and domestic students in a market underpinned by low PBSA supply. Savills research found Australia had a full-time student to bed ratio of 10.5, double that of the US and more than triple that of the UK.

Research undertaken by Cohort Go also found a large proportion of international students were dissatisfied with accommodation options available in Australia, scoring 57 out of 100, a result seen as a substantial opportunity for PBSAs.

According to the accommodation provider, current infrastructure could also support an additional 20,000 beds over the next five years.

Urbanest Australia, which has sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, is forecast to have a net operating income of almost $100 million in 2020, which is expected to grow to $125 million by 2024 with the opening of its latest site in Melbourne.

According to Cohort Go’s research, almost two-thirds of international students in Australia chose a private rental, while less than 10% chose a PBSA.

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