- The Unite Group said business continued to perform strongly in 2017 with good levels of demand for its accommodation from students from the UK, the EU and other international students.

This demand had translated into a strong lettings performance, with reservations at 82% at 11 May (80% in 2016) at pricing that is supportive of like for like rental growth of 3.0-3.5%.

"We have made good progress in enhancing the quality of the portfolio, recycling £434m from the sale of non-core assets (Unite share: £170m, against a Unite share target of £150m-£200m for the year), which will be used to fund our development pipeline through to the end of 2019.

"The development pipeline now totals over 7000 beds in strong university locations and is expected to add 12-14p of earnings per share when completed and fully let," the company said.

It added that it was continuing to see further development opportunities for 2020 and beyond.

"We have also made positive progress following the acquisition of our first major on-campus portfolio at Aston University with reservations across the property already at over 90% for the 2017/18 academic year.

"These reservations are under-pinned by a new nomination agreement with Aston University for 1950 beds; with the remaining beds let directly to students."

Unite said this initial one-year nomination agreement for its first full year of operation was agreed in a short time period and is the first stage of a long-term strategic relationship between the University and Unite Students.

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