EQT Exeter and Grupo Moraval form EUR 500m joint venture to deliver portfolio of purpose-built student accommodation assets in Spain


EQT Exeter is pleased to announce that the EQT Real Estate II fund (“EQT Exeter”) has launched a joint venture (the “JV”) with Grupo Moraval (“Grupo Moraval”), a leading Spanish developer with an approximate 30 percent market share of the “purpose-built student accommodation” (“PBSA”) facilities that have been or are currently being developed in Spain between 2020 and 2022. The JV is expected to have an initial capacity to establish an investment portfolio valued at over EUR 300 million and has aspirations to ultimately grow the portfolio to a value in excess of EUR 500 million.

The student housing market in Spain has experienced rapid growth due to favorable demographic trends such as a steadily growing population of 18-24-year-olds and an increase of young people pursuing higher education. Despite this, many of the country’s university cities suffer from a lack of high-quality student housing with large groups of young people in need of accommodation. The population of people within this age group has increased consistently since the 2015/2016 academic year at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent1.

The JV will focus on delivering a portfolio of PBSA facilities in Spanish cities with growing student housing demand and a relatively low percentage of the respective city’s students who can be accommodated under currently available student housing, also referred to as the provision rate. An example of this is Málaga, where the educational offering is expected to grow even further as the municipality recently offered public land for the establishment of two new universities. Through Grupo Moraval’s in-house market intelligence platform that analyzes the need for student accommodation in university cities across Spain together with EQT’s digitization team, the JV expects it will be able to identify important market trends and future housing demand in an efficient and concise fashion.

The JV’s two initial sites in Seville and Málaga comprise approximately 1,150 and 350 beds, respectively. Located next to two of University of Sevilla’s largest campuses, Pirotecnia and Ramón y Cajal, the Seville site is also within walking distance to the main faculties and the city center and next to the San Bernardo public transportation hub. The Málaga site will be located in the University of Málaga Teatinos campus and is within walking distance to the main faculties and to the public transportation hub which provides easy access to the city center. Construction of the Seville site has already commenced and is expected to be finished by the beginning of the 2022/2023 academic year while the Málaga site is currently anticipated to be delivered by the beginning of the 2024/2025 academic year.

The JV’s assets will be let at market-rate rents under the newly created “Nodis” brand. Nodis expects to embody strong values of dynamism, vitality and safety in its operations. As such, the residences will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, high-quality amenities and premium services including but not limited to gyms, private lounges, living and gaming areas, libraries, work and study spaces, cinemas, parking, free high-speed internet and rooftop terraces.

Consistent with other EQT Exeter transactions, the JV’s assets will be developed with strong sustainability credentials and seek to achieve green certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and GRESB (Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets). The buildings will promote sustainable living practices and utilize photovoltaic panels on the roof, provide electric vehicle charging stations and spaces for carpool vehicles, use native or adapted plants which don’t require a permanent irrigation system and employ high efficiency- low consumption fixtures and fittings.

Carlos Molero, Managing Director, Investment Advisor to EQT Exeter, said, “We are excited to enter the Spanish student housing market alongside market leader Grupo Moraval. This joint venture is an excellent example of EQT Exeter’s ‘local with locals’ approach of sourcing attractive opportunities and investing in thematic trends which are decoupled from the financial cycle. We see a clear opportunity to deliver a portfolio of high social impact, purpose-built student accommodation in Spanish cities which are experiencing a supply-demand imbalance. In addition to the joint venture’s initial sites in Seville and Málaga, we are evaluating a growing pipeline of projects to build a large-scale, resilient and downside-protected portfolio.”

Rob Rackind, Partner and Investment Advisor to EQT Exeter, said, “This joint venture with Grupo Moraval marks a landmark entrance into Spain for EQT Exeter. It is an example of our ‘business to consumer’ efforts which are focused on taking advantage of the demographic transformations that are occurring across Europe. This strategy is manifesting itself through the delivery of over 8,000 beds across Europe over the next few years via a number of additional platforms that we have established. These include the delivery of a GBP 1bn+ private rented residential portfolio in Greater London, a EUR 400m+ mobility-impaired rental housing portfolio across France and a EUR 300m senior care portfolio in Northern Italy, all of which are expected to benefit from continued favorable supply-demand dynamics, urbanization and population growth.”

Alvaro Soto, CEO of Grupo Moraval, said, “Grupo Moraval is delighted to partner with EQT Exeter, which is well-known for its hands-on value creation strategies, in this ambitious project. Together, we will aim to further advance the purpose-built student housing offering in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing higher education markets in Europe. Students both nationally and internationally are increasingly seeking tailored, cost-efficient housing options and EQT Exeter and Moraval share the same vision on how to build and manage sustainable and digitally innovative accommodation for this segment.”

Berta Guillamón, Chief Marketing Officer of Nodis, said, “Nodis student residences will be aligned with today’s youth: dynamic, vibrant and with a spirit of self-improvement. With a team experienced in managing accommodation for students, Nodis creates spaces to live, learn and create new connections in an enriching and creative environment with sustainability at its core.”