Amro grows Iberian student housing portfolio with Pamplona acquisition

March 1st, 2021

  • Purchase of student housing asset consolidates Amro’s Iberian portfolio of c.1,500 beds
  • Amro has also sold its 231-bed student asset in Malaga to Belgian REIT, Xior, for €23.2m
  • Both transactions form part of broader strategy to expand presence in burgeoning Iberian
    student accommodation market

Amro Real Estate Partners, the specialist student and multifamily housing investor, developer and asset manager, continues its expansion across Iberia with the purchase of its fifth student housing asset in Pamplona, Northern Spain. The acquisition, with a GDV of €37.5 million, will grow Amro’s Iberian portfolio to c.1,500 beds with a total GDV of €165 million.

The property, a 9,400 buildable sqm plot, is located in the southern part of the city within walking distance of the two universities, Universidad de Navarra (‘UN’) and Universidad Publica de Navarra (‘UPN’). Amro will develop a 340-bed scheme comprising a mixture of en suites, studios, twodios and doubles, with amenities including landscaped outdoor spaces, study rooms, a gym and a canteen, among others. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, with the residence opening its doors to students in September 2023.

Amro has worked with a number of international lenders for its development projects in Iberia, including Lasalle Investment Management, Cheyne Capital and ARA Venn.

In line with Amro’s pledge to become a Net Zero Carbon business by 2030, the project will be designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, making it one of the most sustainable student accommodation buildings in Spain upon completion.

Pamplona is one of Spain’s most renowned university cities, famous for its San Fermin bull racing week, and is well connected domestically and internationally by train through Alvia (Spain’s long distance rail network) and Pamplona Airport. A burgeoning market with significant opportunity for growth, the city’s student to bed ratio stands at circa 10:1 including the current development pipeline, according to Amro’s research, presenting a significant opportunity for new investment.

Simultaneously, Amro has agreed the sale of its brand new 231-bed student residence in Malaga to Xior Student Housing NV, the Belgian REIT, for €23.2m. Acquired by Amro in 2019, the development is located in the north-west of the city, in the Teatinos district, adjacent to the Universidad de Málaga campus which is home to 35,000 students. The property will open this summer and it will be operated during the stabilisation period under the Amro Estudiantes student housing brand.

Raj Kotecha, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Amro Real Estate Partners, said: “There continues to be a significant shortage of high-quality student housing in Spain where demand currently outstrips supply several times over. We are excited about the opportunity to deliver a market-leading asset in Pamplona within a prime location close to both the city’s prestigious universities.

Together with the successful disposal of our student asset in Malaga, this transaction validates our investment proposition and we remain focused on our strategy to build a portfolio of 5,000 student beds across Iberia over the next three years, with a total GDV of €600 million.

According to research carried out by JLL in 2019, there is an estimated gap between supply and demand of more than 400,000 beds in Spain, meaning a sizable number of students are unable to secure a place at a student residence.

Amro has a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities currently under negotiation in key cities in Spain and Portugal and expects to announce further acquisitions during 2021.