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Watkin Jones Reports Strong Student Demand

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Shares in Watkin Jones are up this morning after the property developer suggested demand for student accommodation remained strong.

The group said the first six months of its financial year have been "successful" and trading had been in line with expectations.

During the first half of the year, Watkin Jones sold five student accommodation developments for a total of £192 million. The assets were located in Bournemouth, Ipswich, Belfast, Cardiff and London.

The company added, all the developments planned to be completed by the start of the academic year in September 2017 and five of those scheduled for completion by September 2018, have been forward sold.

The group also indicated six more developments are under offer, pending legal negotiations, which when concluded would result in all their 2018 planned developments being forward sold.

In total, 16 student housing developments for delivery before September 2019 have now been sold.

The company also has planning applications submitted for a further 11,098 student beds, with planning permission already granted for 9,390.

Watkin Jones has also made progress with its venture into the private rent sector (PRS) having completed its first PRS scheme in Leeds and has secured another PRS site in Sutton.

Chief executive Mark Watkin Jones, said: "The market for purpose-built student accommodation in the UK continues to grow and demand for our product remains strong.

"Our entry into PRS has been successful with the completion of our first scheme in Leeds and going forward we plan to grow our PRS business sustainably. Our development pipeline provides excellent visibility of earnings and cashflow and we are optimistic for the continued growth of Watkin Jones."