In the first article of our 2020 outlook series, NKF Vice Chairman Ryan Lang offers his insights on the globalization of the student housing market and his expectations for the sector.

Investment in student housing property maintained at healthy levels throughout the year. The asset class is actually becoming increasingly global. Cross-border capital poured into student
markets around the world accounted for 40 percent of investment into student accommodation over the last three years, a Newmark Knight Frank 2019 report on the sector shows.

At the same time, the amount of foreign capital infused in the U.S. student housing market rose this year and the trend is expected to continue, according to NKF’s Vice Chairman Ryan Lang: “Our expectation is that foreign capital will continue to sustain elevated levels of market share given the influx of new Korean and Singaporean investors.”

Specializing in the sale of student housing assets, Newmark Knight Frank Vice Chairman Ryan Lang has more than ten years of experience in investment sales and advisory services for this property sector. Lang, who is also the head of the company’s student housing division, has closed more than $8 billion in institutional real estate transactions and has represented major investors, including Brookfield Asset Management, Heitman and American Campus Communities. Multi-Housing News reached out to Lang to discuss his outlook for student housing in the year ahead.

This year, NKF closed transactions totaling almost 2,000 beds in four weeks with equity sources from three different countries. How is this illustrative of student housing investment trends?

Lang: The sector has become a diversified safe haven for domestic and foreign capital while continuing to institutionalize at a fast pace. Foreign capital now represents approximately 20 percent of all student housing transactions that happen in the U.S. and we anticipate new equity entrants to be prevalent in 2020 and beyond.

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