FSP advises We Are Kin on partnership with Moorfield Group
Field Seymour Parkes have advised We Are Kin, a business focused on redefining “student digs”, on its new partnership with Moorfield Group, a UK-focused real estate fund manager, to build a £50 million portfolio of professionally managed student houses across the UK.
The Partnership is seeded with a £10 million (200+ beds) property portfolio located in targeted UK university cities including Liverpool, Lincoln and Lancaster which the FSP property team advised We Are Kin on the acquisition of. The aim is to grow this initial portfolio to over 1,000 beds typically in houses of 5-8 students, beginning with a focus on the Midlands and North.
Moorfield is the majority investor, on behalf of its Moorfield Real Estate Fund IV and We Are Kin is primarily responsible for acquisitions and operating the portfolio.
In 2020, We Are Kin was launched in partnership with Young, the specialists in forming asset backed investment partnerships in the living sector, chaired by Build to Rent (BTR) veteran Neil Young. By focusing on delivering a high quality and user-friendly product, We Are Kin is disrupting the student house sector, which is predominantly made up of second and third year students and which is often characterised by sub-standard accommodation and poor service. The partnership will benefit from the We Are Kin executive team’s decade of experience investing and operating in the student house sector.
The new student offer will also take advantage of the extensive experience of both Moorfield and Young.
Moorfield brings a wealth of experience through its innovation in the residential sector, where it currently invests in purpose-built student accommodation (Domain – since 1997), retirement living (Audley –since 2008) and BTR (More. – since 2012). The Young team brings over 25 years of experience in the living sector, including pioneering investment in the BTR sector through the launch and growth of Get Living.
Ross Netherway, Head of Origination at Moorfield Group, commented: “Despite the current disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain focused on the student accommodation sector and are confident that student numbers will continue to grow over the next decade. This partnership presents an opportunity for us to diversify our exposure in the sector, as part of our ongoing ‘beds’ investment strategy, and enables us to accelerate the professionalisation of a significant yet overlooked area of the market.
“We identified the student shared living sector as an attractive opportunity and we are excited to be partnering with We Are Kin and Young, who bring with them a deep understanding of the space.”
Neil Young, Investment Chair at Young and Chairman of We Are Kin, added: “Creating the student shared living sector was something Young first explored in 2019. So, launching We Are Kin in 2020 and now partnering with Moorfield so soon is really exciting. Throughout my time in the living sector, we have aimed to dramatically improve the offer for the consumer. Redefining the HMO market has always interested me, and we now intend to materially disrupt this sector, which is currently dominated by amateur landlords, but which has huge institutional potential.
“The Moorfield team bring significant knowledge and we expect this to be a very rewarding partnership over the coming years.”
Neil added “it’s been great working with all the FSP team who are so practical, pragmatic and fun to deal with.”
The team at Field Seymour Parkes was led by Corporate Partner and Head of Private Equity, Penelope Garden, with assistance from Alex Illingworth (Legal Director, Banking) and Charlotte Burroughs (Solicitor, Commercial Contracts).