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Empiric acquires student accommodation property in Durham: St. Margaret's Flats

22nd May 2015

The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP) is pleased to announce that the Group has acquired the freehold of an operational, direct-let, student accommodation property in Durham for a consideration of £5.1 million (excluding acquisition costs).

St Margaret's Flats was built in 1994, originally as a residence for the University of Durham, and is a low-rise, low density scheme of 109 beds, principally comprising 5-bed flats, across five blocks, with communal facilities including parking.  The property was refurbished for the 2011/12 academic year, including the replacement of all kitchens, bathrooms and furniture.  The Board believes, however, that there is potential for further property enhancements in the longer term which would further enhance rental prospects. 

The property is in an excellent location in central Durham, close to the popular Crossgate area, a short distance from the city centre.  It is within walking distance of the Central Bailey Colleges as well as bus and railway stations.

The property, which is managed by CRM Students Limited, historically has enjoyed high levels of occupancy and is already fully let for the 2015/16 academic year.

Paul Hadaway, Chief Executive of Empiric Student Property plc, commented:

"The University of Durham is one of the UK's oldest higher education institutions and is ranked 6th in The Times Good University Guide 2015.  Durham University Business School also enjoys a strong reputation internationally with its highly regarded MBA programme.  While student numbers are growing steadily, planning permission for new student accommodation developments in Durham is now difficult, which is increasing the demand/supply imbalance.  We are, therefore, very pleased to have acquired St Margaret's Flats, in a prime location and on a high yield, with the potential for further enhancement in the future.  The acquisition is accretive to Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile."

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The Empiric plc management team has a long track record in the acquisition, development and management of student accommodation assets in the UK.

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