(09 Sep 2021)
Ascott Residence Trust (ART) is to acquire a freehold
1,005-bed student accommodation asset in Texas, USA for US$70.0
million (S$93.8 million), its third student accommodation
investment within a span of seven months.

One of the newest student accommodation in the
area, Wildwood Lubbock is a cottage-style property which serves
over 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students from Texas Tech
University (TTU).

The accretive acquisition will increase ART’s pro
forma FY 2020 Distribution per Stapled Security by approximately
1.5%. The EBITDA yield is expected to be 5.1%.

The
transaction is scheduled for completion on 21 September 2021.

Ms Beh Siew Kim, CEO of ART and Ascott Business Trust said, “The acquisition of our third
student accommodation asset is in line with ART’s strategy to
acquire assets with longer length of stay and diversify our
portfolio from traditional hospitality assets, further increasing
ART’s resilience and stable income. Leases are typically for a
year and Wildwood Lubbock will start contributing income
immediately. Despite COVID19, Wildwood Lubbock is 100% leased for
the 2021 Academic Year and there is minimal upcoming private
student accommodation supply.”

Opened in
2017, Wildwood Lubbock is close to TTU, one of the top public
research universities with elite college athletics status.

TTU’s student population has grown consistently at a compound
annual growth rate of 2.5% over the past decade. The overall
enrollment for the 2020 Academic Year also increased by 4%
year-on-year despite COVID19.

TTU is the sixth largest university
in Texas by student population with local students comprising 98%
of its total student population. Its athletics programme also
competes in the Big 12 Conference, one of the ‘Power 5’ athletics
conferences in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“With Wildwood
Lubbock, ART will expand its longer-stay portfolio to about 11%,
keeping us on track to have student accommodation and rental
housing properties constitute about 15-20% of our total property
value in the medium term. Since the expansion of ART’s investment
mandate to include student accommodation assets in January 2021,
ART has committed to invest a total of about S$379 million on
three prime student accommodation assets in USA and three rental
housing properties in Sapporo, Japan at an average EBITDA yield of
about 5%. Following this acquisition, ART’s gearing would
remain unchanged at 35.9%. ART continues to be in a strong
financial position to seek accretive investments in more
longer-stay lodging assets and create greater value for our
Stapled Securityholders,” Ms Beh added.

Wildwood Lubbock has 1,005 beds across 294 units,
comprising two to four-bedroom apartments and each room comes
with an ensuite bathroom.

The student accommodation has
top-of-the-market on-site amenities such as the largest
resort-style pool in Lubbock with jetted hot tubs, a swim-up bar,
outdoor cabanas with gas grills and firepits. There is also a gym, study rooms, a clubhouse with
a game-day theatre room, a pet park as well as basketball and
volleyball courts.

With most students driving to campus, Wildwood
Lubbock offers close to 1,100 parking lots. Students can also
access the heart of the TTU campus via a shuttle bus ride.

Wildwood Lubbock will be managed by an unrelated third-party
operator.

See latest

Travel Industry News,
Video
Interviews,
Podcasts
and other
news regarding:

Ascott,

Student,

Accommodation,

ART.


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