Nido, the UK and European student housing specialist, is looking to further expand its portfolio across the UK and Europe over the next few months, despite the pandemic and a potential no-deal Brexit.
The student digs developer-investor has significantly expanded its European portfolio from 2,000 beds in 2017 to roughly 11,000 at present. ‘When I joined three years ago, we identified an opportunity to grow across Europe by joining forces with like-minded investors. The intention is to continue to grow at the same pace,’ CEO Brian Welsh told PropertyEU in an interview.
Outside the UK, Nido is currently active in Portugal, Ireland, The Netherlands and Germany through separate joint ventures. Typically, the company teams up with different capital partners to carry out new projects. While the company is looking to expand the portfolio in the countries where it is already active, it is also interested in entering new markets such as France and Italy, also thanks to the continued support demonstrated by lenders and investors alike, Welsh added.
‘In an environment where many asset classes have suffered from the impact of the pandemic, student accommodation has been able to prove its resiliency to the changes in the macro-environment, as demonstrated by the high occupancy levels throughout the crisis. The sector is also helped by the fact that in a crisis and a difficult job market, people tend to study for longer but also students in their early 20s are generally not the most affected by the pandemic. We expect that in 2021 we will be back to business as usual and are looking to find the right opportunity in a number of new cities.’
Commenting on a likely no-deal Brexit, Welsh played down the direct impact on the sector as only a minor number of the international students in the UK are of European origin.
‘We are not very concerned (about a no-deal Brexit). The UK has always had a limited number of European students while most international students in the country come from China and India and we continue to see growth in the middle class of these two countries, so we do not expect a reduction in the number of international students in the UK,’ he added.