Singapore-listed Wee Hur Holdings has sold a 49.9% stake in an Australian purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) portfolio for $567.9 million.
The Wee Hur PBSA Master Trust (WHPMT) portfolio comprised 5,662 beds across seven PBSA assets located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.
The portfolio features four operational assets while the remaining three will be completed before the end of 2023.
The stake was sold to an unidentified entity backed by a global institutional investor that was reported to be Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Wee Hur built the $1.38 billion portfolio from the ground up with Australian investment manager Intergen Property Group since 2015, acquiring greenfield sites and developing them.
“To be clear, it will still take us some time to stabilise our existing portfolio to generate a healthy annual cashflow to ourselves and our partner, and we will keep working on that,” Wee Hur Capital CEO Goh Wee Ping said.
“Australia definitely remains a strong tertiary education destination that will continue to attract tertiary students, international and domestic alike.
“The difference is that now, more than ever, we need to be very selective in where we want to be, focusing on sites that are in great locations that are still underserved by the market, as the market has definitely seen a marked increase in PBSA supply over the past decade.
“Overall, though, we think that serious investment activity in the sector is just getting started and there’s still a long way to go before hitting maturity levels like in UK or USA.”
Wee Hur also has a second PBSA fund that owns a single piece of land in Sydney that is to be redeveloped into a 410 bed PBSA asset in a few years’ time.
The deal comes after Canadian investment manager Brookfield entered the Australian student housing sector last month after forming a joint venture with Citiplan to buy a student housing development site in Melbourne.
The purpose-built student housing development site was located opposite the University of Melbourne.
At the time, Brookfield and Citiplan were planning to build a platform of purpose-built student accommodation assets in gateway locations around Australia and New Zealand that would be managed by Journal Student Living.