Global rental housing company Greystar has announced a joint venture partnership to acquire Spanish student accommodation provider Resa. The JV includes AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets (“AXA IM - Real Assets”), acting on behalf of its clients, and CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP), also acting on behalf of clients. AXA IM - Real Assets and CBRE GIP have acquired equal sized shares representing the substantial majority holding in the portfolio, while Greystar, who will act as property, development and asset manager for the portfolio, has bought the remaining balance. 

The deal, subject to obtaining the antitrust approval of the European Commission, is the largest investment transaction in student housing on the Iberian Peninsula. Greystar,

AXA IM - Real Assets and CBRE GIP were advised by Jones Day, KPMG and Cushman & Wakefield. The vendors are Azora, Arta Capital, March Campus and Mutua Madrileña. 

Resa is Spain’s market leader in student accommodation with 9,309 student beds in 19 Spanish cities, including tier one cities Madrid and Barcelona, in addition to Andalucía, Cataluña, Galicia, Navarra, Pais Vasco, Salamanca and Valencia. Resa, managed by Azora since 2011, has experienced significant growth during this period, increasing from 26 to 37 residences, of which 33 are currently operating and the other four are under development. The company will continue to operate under the Resa brand with Greystar assuming responsibility for overall management. 

Steven Zeeman, Managing Director, Investment Management – Netherlands, Greystar: 

“Resa is Spain’s leading student housing brand by some margin with an excellent management team in place and considerable growth potential. We’re delighted to acquire the company to add to Greystar’s growing European platform. Spain is presently one of Europe’s fastest growing economies with a serious shortage of purpose-built rental accommodation suitable for students and young professionals in the larger cities. As the global provider of this type of housing, we’re naturally very excited to be securing a platform in the country and the opportunities this joint venture creates. 

“Acquiring well-established businesses or portfolios in local markets is core to our European city growth strategy. This is an approach that has worked well for Greystar in both the US and the UK and we aim to replicate the model in Spain. Resa provides us with a considerable presence on the Iberian Peninsula and we will be looking to identify other opportunities in the southern European region, focusing on large-scale student and multifamily rental housing projects.” 

Commenting on the acquisition, Laurent Lavergne, Head of Separate Accounts at AXA IM - Real Assets said: 

“This transaction provides us with a rare opportunity to acquire, on behalf of our clients, a large scale and extremely high quality portfolio of student accommodation, which is also managed by Spain’s leading halls of residence operator – Resa. It also marks a number of significant firsts for us, being our first investment into this asset class in Europe and our first joint venture with our two JV partners.”  

“Student accommodation is an asset class of real interest to us, offering extremely visible income streams that are backed by operational businesses and dislocated from real estate market cycles. The Spanish student accommodation market is also both highly fragmented and undersupplied and therefore presents us with an opportunity to grow our portfolio by investing further in our Resa joint venture. We are also very pleased to be working alongside these new partners, two globally renowned asset and investment management businesses, for the first time.” 

Greystar manages globally over 415,000 rental apartments and has been active in Europe’s multifamily and student accommodation market following its first European acquisition in 2013. The company is an investor and operator of UK student brand Chapter and a shareholder in student accommodation provider iQ. In 2015 Greystar entered the student housing sector in continental Europe with the purchase of Campus Diemen Zuid in the Netherlands. The Resa acquisition consolidates Greystar’s position as one of the largest operators of student accommodation in Europe, developing and managing in the region of 40,000 student beds in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and now Spain.

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For more information on Greystar, please contact Paul Browne at TwoBlue Communications on

t: 020 8870 0367 or e-mail: paul@tbcpr.com

Notes to editors: 

ABOUT GREYSTAR

  • Greystar was founded by Bob Faith in 1993 with the goal to become the leading, fully integrated, real estate company that specialises in the investment management, development and property management of rental housing.  
  • Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with offices throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Greystar manages approximately 415,000 units in over 140 markets globally, with an aggregate estimated value of approximately $80 billion. 
  • Greystar manages over $17 billion in gross assets on behalf of a global network of institutional investors, including $8 billion of developments that have been completed or are underway.  
  • In late 2016, Greystar announced a partnership with Macquarie Capital for expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. Greystar Asia-Pac will be Greystar and Macquarie Capital’s exclusive platform in the rental residential sector in the Asia-Pacific region. 
  • Greystar owns and operates boutique student accommodation brand, Chapter, which provides premium student living in the best London locations. Chapter has 4,456 student beds across eight sites currently (Aldgate, Highbury, Islington, King’s Cross, Lewisham, Portobello, Spitalfields and Southbank). Greystar, in tandem with Goldman Sachs and the Wellcome Trust, is a shareholder in student accommodation provider iQ, which provides housing for 23,500 students. 

Greystar’s multifamily pipeline includes Greenford in West London and Sailmakers in Canary Wharf. Greenford is the first residential scheme in the UK to be designed as a multifamily development from the outset. The 20.3-acre site will provide 1,439 rental homes and 526 homes for sale. Sailmakers is a vibrant mixed-use development located in a prime location on the south quay of Canary Wharf. The development will provide 327 multifamily apartments and 15,000 square feet of amenities.