MetLife makes student housing play

The financing is the first UK deal for the insurance giant MetLife and the US-based Greystar Real Estate, and was arranged by real estate debt specialist Laxfield Capital.

US-listed insurer MetLife has provided a £122.8 million ($206.5 million; €150.8 million) senior debt package to an affiliate of US-based Greystar Real Estate Partners to support its acquisition of three student housing assets in London, according to a statement on Monday.

It is the first UK deal between the two, having previously worked together in the US real estate market.

The financing was arranged by Laxfield Capital, a UK-based real estate debt specialist.

The portfolio totals 1,135 beds and comprises a 230-bed complex on Great Suffolk Street in Southwark; the 573-bed Woodland Court near Caledonian Road in Islington; and the 332-bed Wedgwood Court on Holloway Road.

Paul Wilson, managing director of real estate for MetLife in the UK said: “This deal is a first in the United Kingdom for MetLife and Greystar, who have been working together for many years in the US real estate market. MetLife is committed to establishing and growing strong relationships with top-tier real estate owners of core assets.”

Adam Slater, managing director for Laxfield, said: “In this increasingly competitive lending environment, we are very pleased to be working with Greystar and MetLife. This high quality portfolio was an ideal transaction to cement further our relationship with MetLife, having arranged nine transactions since 2010 worth over 820 million pounds ($1.4bn).”

Greystar is the largest operator of apartments in the US and has more than $7.5 billion in assets globally.