Unite Students invests in, and operates, a small number of specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners. The largest is the £2.3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) which comprises 26,813 beds in 75 properties across 24 university towns and cities.
Established in 2006, USAF is one of the top performing funds in the IPD PPFI Specialist Fund Index and the largest specialist student accommodation fund in the UK. Unite holds a 23% stake and acts as a manager of USAF, operating its properties.
This open-ended and non-listed real estate fund focuses on acquiring and operating high quality student accommodation. Its success is based on the high quality locations of its assets, due to the fund's mover advantage when developing in UK towns and cities. USAF’s portfolio includes a large number of properties connected to Russell Group universities which deliver consistently high occupancy. These factors all contribute to rental growth.
USAF’s strategy is to remain as the leading fund for indirect institutional investment in the UK student accommodation sector; to drive portfolio performance by generating superior rental growth, whilst maintaining high occupancy and managing risk; and to maintain and enhance the quality of its portfolio through asset management. USAF distributes all of its profits by way of dividends.