StockMarketWire.com - Watkin Jones continued to deliver a good trading performance, in line with its expectations in the half year ending 31 March 2019.

The group added to its forward sold development pipeline, reflecting continued strong demand from institutional investors.

Notable highlights included the previously announced forward sale of a 599 bed student accommodation development in Wembley to the global investor DWS, which is scheduled for delivery ahead of the 2021/22 academic year.

The Wembley scheme represented DWS' first student accommodation acquisition in the UK, reflecting confidence in both Watkin Jones and the UK student accommodation market.

The group also exchanged contracts with Brookfield's student accommodation business, Student Roost, for the development of a 245 bed scheme in Swansea, which is scheduled for completion ahead of the 2020/21 academic year.

This represented the third phase in the development of a total of 960 student accommodation beds at the Swansea site, following the success of the first two phases already owned by Student Roost.

Watkin Jones reported a secured development pipeline in excess of 7,500 beds across 17 sites, which are scheduled for delivery over the period FY19 to FY21.

Of these, 11 sites (5,334 beds) have been forward sold. All of the six schemes (2,723 beds) under construction for delivery in FY19, ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, are progressing in line with expectations.

BUILD TO RENT

Investor interest in the burgeoning build to rent market continues to gain momentum and the group is positioning itself to be a leading developer and manager in this sector, leveraging its experience in purpose built student accommodation.

Watkin Jones added significantly to its build to rent development pipeline in the period through the acquisition of a prime site for 336 apartments in Woking and successfully obtained the final planning consent for 166 apartments on its site in Sutton.

The firm said it is in control of a high quality, geographically diverse build to rent development pipeline, including three sites with planning (415 apartments) and three sites (circa 800 apartments) for which planning is being progressed.

In addition to its own pipeline of sites, the group is progressing well with the previously announced development of 315 apartments in Reading for M&G Real Estate and has commenced development of the 300-apartment scheme in Wembley for Singaporean investors.

ACCOMODATION MANAGEMENT

Fresh Property Group (FPG), the Group's specialist accommodation management business, continued to perform well, with 15,421 units under management across 56 schemes at the start of FY19.

By FY22, FPG is currently appointed to manage 21,018 units across 73 schemes.

RESIDENTIAL

The group's residential business saw a robust level of sales activity in the first half of the year, reflecting the relative strength of its primary North West market.




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