CPP Investment Board gets into U.S. student housing market

The investment arm of the Canada Pension Plan has made its entry into the U.S. student housing market through a new joint venture.

CPPIB buys major interest in large university housing portfolio

The CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) is part of a consortium that has paid $1.4 billion US for University House Communities Group and its portfolio of student housing buildings at a variety of university campuses across the U.S. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

The investment arm of the Canada Pension Plan has made its entry into the U.S. student housing market through a new joint venture.

The CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) is part of a consortium that has paid $1.4 billion US for University House Communities Group (UHC) and its portfolio of student housing buildings at a variety of university campuses in the U.S. 

The purchase includes almost 13,000 beds in 18 existing and four planned communities.

The CPPIB will own 47.5 per cent of the joint venture. That would put the CPPIB's share of the investment at $665 million US ($928 million Cdn), while GIC, a Singapore-based investment firm, will also have 47.5 per cent. Scion Student Communities, which is the largest owner/operator of student housing communities in the U.S., will have the other five per cent and will manage and operate the portfolio.  

"The UHC portfolio represents a valuable opportunity to enter the U.S. student housing sector with top-tier, well-located assets," said Peter Ballon, a real estate managing director of CPPIB, in a statement. "This transaction enables us to gain immediate scale in the attractive U.S. student housing market."

The CPPIB invests the money that isn't needed to pay current CPP benefits. As of Sept. 30, 2015, the CPP fund had assets worth $273 billion, including more than $34 billion in real estate investments.

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