CBRE’s L.A. Listing Could Set Single-Asset Record

by Katie Sloan

LOS ANGELES — Several trends are driving equity to student housing’s sphere.

University Gateway in Los Angeles.LOS ANGELES — National student loan debt may be at an all-time high, but so are the prices for some Class A student housing.

Lacking the resources to obtain a degree hasn’t stopped many students from attending college, as rising enrollment numbers show. Even though an education is costly, and debt may be awaiting graduates, the college years for students renting at top-notch properties near campus are not lean days of Ramen noodles and living in aging bargain flats in high-crime areas of a university town.

What student housing considers its A List has been steadily rising in cost, quality and prime location over the years. Founder’s Hall at NYU took $134 million in January 2010. The Cottages of Baton Rouge, with its valet trash service, bocce ball court and jumbo poolside TV, sold for $89.5 million in October 2011. And in January of this year, American Campus Communities announced a two-property deal for 26 West Apartments in Austin and a controlling interest in The Varsity in College Park, Md. The two transactions totaled $208 million for 1,927 beds.

Now, CBRE is listing two properties that represent the highest spike in top-dollar student housing assets. The Block is a six-property portfolio within walking distance at the University of Texas in the popular West Campus neighborhood. The urban infill Austin multifamily submarket has experienced a year-over-year rent growth increase of 8.1 percent, and demand keeps rising.

But the spotlight is really on CBRE’s listing of University Gateway in Los Angeles. Built in 2010, the sleek retail-apartment building near the University of Southern California has 1,656 beds and is packed with high-end amenities and stylish decor, such as cultured marble counters, designer flooring and 37-inch flat screen TVs in all 421 units. The market rent rates add up to $1.7 million per month. It could trade north of $200 million.

“Should University Gateway transact at current pricing expectations, the asset will set a new benchmark for a single asset sale in the student housing industry,” says Jaclyn Fitts, associate director of student housing at CBRE.

— Lynn Peisner

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