Dubai real estate fund ENBD Reit buys student housing for Dhs120m

The acquisition is the fund’s first since its listing on Nasdaq Dubai in March



Dubai-listed real estate investment fund ENBD Reit has acquired Dubai’s ‘first purpose-built student residence’ for Dhs120m, it announced on Tuesday.

The 424-bed property, Uninest Dubailand, was acquired from Global Student Accommodation (GSA) on a sale and leaseback agreement.

As part of the transaction, GSA has entered into a seven-year lease.

The acquisition is ENBD Reit’s first in the student accommodation segment, and part of its strategy to diversifying its asset portfolio, a statement said.

Uninest Dubailand, built in 2016, is located close to Dubai Academic City, which includes over 30 institutions.

The property comprises a 160,000 sqft floor area covering two basement levels, a ground floor, nine upper stories, and a roof-top swimming pool.

A total of 242 rooms offer 424 beds, with amenities including a cafe, gym, entertainment room, cinema room, study area and outdoor terrace.

The operator also provides a regular shuttle service to universities and shopping malls.

Responsibility for managing the property will remain with GSA’s operations team, under the Uninest Student Residence brand, the statement added.

Tim Rose, head of Real Estate at Emirates NBD Asset Management – which manages the Reit fund, said: “We’re very pleased to announce our first acquisition since the successful listing of ENBD Reit on Nasdaq Dubai in March.

“This is an important step in our capital deployment programme, and a key milestone for the process of diversifying our portfolio beyond traditional asset classes. As GSA plans to grow its presence in Dubai and the UAE, we are looking forward to a strategic partnership that will allow both parties to support the growth of the Emirates’ education sector.”

Following the acquisition, ENBD Reit’s property portfolio has a total value of $349m, with a net asset valuation of $297m, or $1.17 per share. Loan-to-value ratio on gross asset value is 32 per cent, with occupancy of 86 per cent across the portfolio.

ENBD Reit has a total of eight properties across Dubai, with offices accounting for 61 per cent of the portfolio, residences accounting for 29 per cent and alternative assets (including student accommodation) making up the remaining 10 per cent.

The investment fund raised $105m when it listed on Nasdaq Dubai in March 2017.