March 15, 2022

Barings Secures Forward Purchase of Prime Brighton Student Accommodation for £43.7M From Studious Investment Management

Barings, one of the world’s largest diversified real estate investment managers, on behalf of a core strategy, has agreed the forward purchase of Crown House, a high-quality student accommodation asset in Brighton, for £43.7 million from Studious Investment Management.

Due for completion in July 2022, ahead of the 2022 to 2023 academic year, Crown House is located in the heart of the city with easy access to the main Brighton University campus and train station. The scheme will provide a total of 183 beds, including a range of studio accommodation, with views over the city and the sea. The development also includes class-leading amenity provision with extensive facilities for residents including a fitness suite, gaming room, dinner party room, private study rooms and various seating and lounge space. Unusually for a student scheme in Brighton, students will benefit from immediate proximity to the city’s main leisure and retail amenities and its many renowned landmarks such as The Lanes, Brighton Pier and the seafront.

Studious’ repurposing of the 57,000 sq ft building has enhanced its ESG credentials, including through the retention of the embodied carbon in its existing frame. Barings is now working with the developer to deliver initiatives to build further on its BREEAM Very Good certification and Fitwell accreditation.

Brighton is a popular student city as the location of both Brighton University and the University of Sussex, which have a combined student population of nearly 40,000 students.  Brighton’s student population has grown at 3.32% per annum over the last 10 years, which outperforms the national average, while its supply of student accommodation has significantly lagged this expansion with 74% of the city’s students unable to access purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said:
“This has been our second student accommodation acquisition in the UK in the past year and we continue to have substantial and growing appetite for further investments in the sector. Of particular interest are cities where supply remains constrained, the local economy is well diversified and robust, and there is a proven depth of occupier demand. We are interested in the full risk spectrum ranging from Value-add to Core, be it new developments or refurbishments.

“The student accommodation sector has demonstrated its resilience throughout the pandemic – with UCAS applications at an all-time high last year – and Brighton’s chronic undersupply of high-quality PBSA made this a compelling investment opportunity.”

Ben Pile, Head of European Residential Investing and Asset Management at Barings, said: 
“Living remains one of our preferred sectors at Barings, alongside offices and logistics, and this was a unique opportunity to forward purchase a high-quality asset in a strong university city. We have considerable appetite to invest further into student housing and Build to Rent across our European destinations, including the UK, Nordics, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France and Spain, either as single asset deals or portfolios.”

Sevi Rixson, Managing Director at Studious Investment Management Ltd commented:
“Like many of our previous residential and student accommodation investments and developments, we are delighted to be delivering another superb asset, reinvigorating a building and a micro location and delivering to top tier institutional quality and ESG standards. Studious Investment Management continue to build on the £300m+ of student accommodation assets developed and will be actively acquiring and investing in existing and new build assets in the core living sectors.”

Tali Robinson/Polly Warrack (SEC Newgate)

Barings Real Estate
Barings Real Estate (BRE) offers a broad range of global investment opportunities across the private debt and equity investment markets. BRE invests in all major property sectors and offers an expansive range of financing solutions to real estate borrowers.  Follow us on LinkedIn at

About Barings
Barings is a $391+ billion* global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities and employees, and is committed to sustainable practices and responsible investment.

*Assets under management as of December 31, 2021