Investec furthers UK co-living exposure with £55 million loan to Scape Group


1 Blackhorse Lane (credit - AHMM)

Investec Real Estate (“Investec”) has arranged a £55 million loan for Scape Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of PBSA and Living units, to fund the development and stabilisation of a best-in-class co-living scheme in Walthamstow, London.

The transaction represents Investec’s third facility in a sector benefitting from a number of structural tailwinds, including home ownership unaffordability and hybrid working patterns.

Scape Group has secured consent for the construction of the 321-bed co-living scheme at 1 Blackhorse Lane, East London, which will launch under their Living brand, Morro.

Due to complete in 2025, the Zone 3 scheme, which is targeting an EPC A rating and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification, will feature shared residential amenity spaces; a ground floor public café and retail unit; and a purpose-built music and comedy venue.

The site benefits from excellent transport connectivity with access to both the London Underground Victoria Line and Overground networks via Blackhorse Road station located immediately opposite.

Investec’s previous co-living exposure includes providing a joint venture between Scape Group and HG Construction with a £53.5 million senior debt facility in 2021 to fund the development of 403 purpose built Scape student accommodation (PBSA) beds and 113 Morro living units in Guildford.

Occupationally, the asset has performed strongly since opening and has significantly outperformed the original rental underwrite.

Scape Group is one of the largest PBSA and Living developers and operators in the UK and Ireland, with 4,200 beds currently in operation and a further 2,700 in development.

Investec’s third Future Living report, which was published in October last year with data gathered from 50 global institutional investors representing over £400 billion of AUM, revealed that almost half (46%) of respondents were considering investing in co-living in the next five years and that investment activity in the sector has doubled since 2021, the biggest jump out of all the Living asset classes over that period.

This chimes with Savills data that says the number of operational beds in the UK’s co-living sector has nearly tripled since 2019.

Hollie Sleigh at Investec Real Estate commented:

“With demand for high quality, well-connected rental accommodation in London continuing to outstrip supply, the appeal of co-living as an asset class to both investors and residents is pushing this nascent sector further into the mainstream.

Our most recent Future Living report echoed this sentiment by highlighting the positive outlook for and expected investment activity into co-living.

This Blackhorse Lane transaction is an exciting expansion of our exposure to the co-living space, which we believe is very underinvested, and will enable Scape Group to grow and enhance its portfolio.

This is our sixth loan with Scape Group, whose track record in sourcing and delivering highly desirable and extremely well managed PBSA and living assets speaks for itself.

We look forward to seeing the development progress and continuing to work together.”

Adam Brockley, Founder & Chief Development Officer at Scape Group, said:

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Investec who have a fantastic record of consistently delivering funding for Scape Group, particularly during challenging times.

With our growing pipeline of Morro and Scape PBSA developments we look forward to continuing our well-established relationships with both Investec and APG.

Our growth strategy remains as ambitious as ever – we’re actively seeking new opportunities in the PBSA and living spaces.”

Charles Moran, Planning Director at Scape Group, added:

“We’re excited to bring this scheme forwards and open our first Morro building in central London.

We’ve had incredible support from Waltham Forest council who have seen the value in our proposition for their growing community.

Morro is ideally suited to this diverse, rapidly changing neighbourhood and presents us with many fantastic opportunities for collaboration with the many artists and makers in the local area.”