LONDON, 29 November 2017 – Cushman & Wakefield has appointed three Partners to expand the specialist investment expertise within its Student Accommodation team.
Andrew Smith, George Dyer and Paddy Allen join from GSA Group, the global student accommodation investor, developer and operator. They start work at Cushman & Wakefield in December.
The appointments allow Cushman & Wakefield to broaden its range of strategic advisory and transactional services within the European student accommodation sector as the sector evolves to become a core asset class for global investors. The trio will bring experience in transacting complex acquisitions, joint ventures, debt raising and strategic asset management of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) portfolios, which will prove invaluable to Cushman & Wakefield’s client base as the sector evolves.
Andrew Smith has worked at GSA Group since 2014, working on acquisitions in Germany and the UK. Andrew previously worked in the Capital Advisors team at CBRE, where he structured a number of PBSA joint ventures and club investments including Victoria Hall, Amro and Nido.
George Dyer joined GSA Group in 2015; he has focused on acquisitions & asset management across the UK portfolio. George previously worked at Invesco & Schroders on pan-European direct and indirect real estate mandates.
Paddy Allen joined GSA Group in 2014 working on acquisitions in the UK and Spain. Paddy previously co-founded a residential business in London and Australia, and the property & financial app, Acasa, and prior to this worked for Internos Global Investors in European acquisitions and fund management.
Cushman & Wakefield has been active in the student accommodation market for more than 20 years, and already has a strong client base including universities, investors, developers and operators.
Colin Wilson, Head of UK & Ireland, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Andrew, George and Paddy have acted on some of the sector’s landmark transactions and we are delighted they are joining our highly-regarded Student Accommodation team, which has transacted over £450m in the last 18 months and has a 2,500 bed sales and acquisitions pipeline. The European PBSA market continues to be one of the most attractive asset classes for companies looking to invest in real estate and the time is right to further support our clients by boosting our transactional capabilities. Operational real estate PBSA requires specialist advice, and adding three Partners from one of the top investors across Europe will allow Cushman & Wakefield to offer its clients a unique service.”
The UK’s PBSA sector has witnessed year-on-year rental growth, while the depreciation of Sterling has triggered an influx of capital from overseas buyers in 2017 with recent deals involving investors from the Middle East, Singapore, China and Russia. Cushman & Wakefield’s forecasts anticipate at least £4.8bn of student accommodation will transact in 2017 and could be close to record levels.