StockMarketWire.com - Student accommodation group Unite said it expected its rental income for the upcoming academic year to fall by up to a fifth, though reservation figures indicated that students were keen to get back to university.

The company also said the valuation of its two investment funds was unchanged over the June quarter.

Reservations for the 2020/21 academic year were currently at 81%, compared to 90% on-year, reflecting delays by some students and universities in making their accommodation choices.

'We expect a higher than usual volume of sales activity later in the booking cycle,' Unite said.

The company said it was targeting 90% occupancy for 2020/21, down from 98% on-year, , underpinned by income security provided by multi-year nomination agreements.

Rental income was expected to fall by 10-20% for 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, prior to the impact of cancellations in 2019/20 due to Covid-19.

The Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund's property portfolio was was independently valued at £2.79bn at the end of June, while the London Student Accommodation Joint Venture was valued at £1.32bn.

'UCAS applications data and our own research underlines that students are keen to start or get back to university as soon as it's safe to do so,' chief executive Joe Lister said.

'We have growing visibility and confidence over our income for the 2020/21 academic year, reflective of the strength of our university relationships and underlying student demand for our offering.'




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