Unite Group PLC on Monday said it has sold more beds than expected for the current academic year, and it cautioned on rent hikes due to inflationary pressure.
It also said it has bought a new build-to-rent property.
The student accommodation developer has sold 99% of its beds for the 2022-23 academic year, up from 94.1% in 2021-22. It had expected to sell 97%.
‘In addition, the group has significant waiting lists in many of its largest markets, where there remains a shortage of high-quality, purpose-built student accommodation close to university campuses,’ Unite said.
It has seen rental growth of 3.5% for the academic year. It expects further rental growth for 2023-24, targeting a climb in the range of 4.5% to 5.0%, in a bid to ‘offset inflationary cost pressures’.
The company said the sales performance reflects the impact of ‘higher occupancy in lower priced markets’.
Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said: ‘We have delivered a very strong operational performance for the 2022/23 academic year, reflecting the appeal of our high-quality portfolio and affordable rents.’
For 2022, Unite now expects adjusted earnings per share at the top end of 40p to 41p guidance, possibly up as much as 49% from 27.6p in 2021.
In addition, Unite said it has acquired 180 Stratford, a 178-unit purpose-built build-to-rent property in east London, for £71 million.
It said the acquisition of 180 Stratford will increase Unite’s scale in the Stratford, east London, market to around 3,700 beds.
The property offers 319 beds across a mix of 1-bed, 2-bed and 3-bed units, as well as 11,000 square feet of commercial space.
Unite shares were up 3.4% at 822.50 pence each on Monday morning in London.
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