ASH – Management Report

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MARCH 31, 2024 – MANAGEMENT REPORT

 

We are pleased to send you Alignvest Student Housing Real Estate Investment Trust’s Q1 2024 Management Report.

We have had a very busy start to 2024 and are expecting a  successful year for our REIT. The macroeconomic environment has shown signs of stabilization and opportunity. Interest rates have come down from their peak in Q4 2023. Further, CMHC financing has become more accessible to developers and investors, which has materially impacted our ability to positively underwrite acquisitions.

We kicked off the year with the acquisition of 417Nelson in Ottawa in February. This site nicely complements our other Ottawa properties and is conveniently located only a few minutes walk from the University of Ottawa.  Continuing our growth trajectory, in April we announced the acquisition of 308 King in Waterloo, with an expected closing in late May. It’s important to note that we have spent several years working to secure both of these transactions. Our deep relationships and expertise provide us with a unique advantage compared to other investors in the sector. We have a robust pipeline of additional acquisition opportunities for continued growth.

Our 2024 pre-leasing season is off to a strong start. We are already almost 83% pre-leased for September 2024 at our privately-managed properties and are projecting a 21.8% gap-to-market on sitting rents when compared to current tenant lease rates. We are also pleased to confirm that the Canadian governments recent announcements to reduce the number of international student visas has not impacted the demand we continue to experience across our portfolio.

We are pleased with the results we have delivered to our investors, including a 3.2% return in Q1 2024 and 12.4% annualized since inception (both are to Class F unitholders participating in our DRIP). With a strong acquisition pipeline in front of us, we are actively raising capital to pursue multiple opportunities and continue our expansion across Canada. The future looks strong, and we are confident in our strategy and the corresponding returns for our investors.

 

Below is the link to our Management Report. We have also included links to our Q1 2024 Financial Statements and 2023 Audited Financial Statements. Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

Q1 2024 Management Report

Q1 2024 Financial Statements

2023 Audited Financial Statements

Alignvest Student Housing Acquisition

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ACQUISITION OF HIGH-QUALITY ASSET IN WATERLOO, ONTARIO

We are pleased to announce that we have entered into a binding contract to purchase a residential property located at 308 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario (“308 King”).

308 King is a newly constructed, 25-storey building with 340 furnished units, providing housing for 659 students. The property is located within walking distance of both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. The property offers on-site laundry, rooftop terraces with barbeques and lounge areas, an above-grade parking garage and bicycle parking. There is over 8,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

With the addition of 308 King, Alignvest Student Housing REIT will own a portfolio that provides housing for almost 6,000 students across 14 properties in six university-focused Canadian markets.

The acquisition is scheduled to close in May 2024. Below is the link to the full press release announcing the acquisition of 308 King.

 

Press Release - 308 King Acquisition

April 2024 Information Sheet

Student Housing Acquitistion

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ACQUISITION OF HIGH-QUALITY STUDENT HOUSING ASSET IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO

We are pleased to announce the acquisition of a purpose-built student accommodation asset located at 417 Nelson Street, Ottawa, Ontario (“417Nelson”).

417Nelson is a modern 4-storey building with 94 beds in 53 fully furnished units. The property is in close proximity to our other Ottawa properties, which allows for operational efficiencies and enables us to continue to provide high-quality accommodation to students in the area. With this acquisition, we were able to assume attractive in-place CMHC financing which has a below-market interest rate of 2.32% and over six years of remaining term.

With the addition of 417Nelson, Alignvest Student Housing REIT now owns a portfolio of over 5,300 beds across 13 properties in six university-focused Canadian markets.

 

Below is the link to the full press release announcing the acquisition of 417Nelson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release - 417Nelson Acquisition February 2024 Information Sheet

Change is Coming – Always Improving

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At MFG, our Mission Statement is to be “Always improving”. Over the past 15 months, we have been refining the process of how we can better deliver our investment platform to our clients. Utilizing partnerships and data collected over the years, we’ve come up with a solution that we believe will improve our investment platform and improve our clients overall experience with MFG.

What is Changing?

We are transitioning to an investment model platform. Working with your Portfolio Manager, it will be determined which model is appropriate for you. Once this has been determined, you will own one or more of the new MFG Investment Models – Aggressive, Growth, and/or Balanced. These new Model Funds are built using the best investment managers and strategies that our team has researched. The platform utilizes the same investment philosophies of delivering an institutional quality portfolio to our clients.

The Benefits to our Clients

1. Increased Performance

    – Via enhanced portfolio construction and efficient management capabilities

2. Time spent with your Portfolio Manager

   – Spend more time focusing on other value add areas of your financial lives – IE: financial planning, insurance analysis, tax work, etc.

3. Communication will be improved through detailed Quarterly Reports

   – These reports will include facts about the Model Fund, general market commentary and additional information that our PM Division finds relevant to our clients

 

When to Expect the Change – April 1st, 2024

We are very excited to be able to deliver this new and improved platform to our clients. There has been a lot of work put in by our team to get us to this point. As we approach April 1st, you can expect to receive multiple communication pieces from our team diving into deeper details on the upcoming changes. If you have any questions on the upcoming change and what it might look like for you personally, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your MFG Portfolio Manager.

We want to thank you for your continued trust and support of MFG. Without you, none of this would be possible.

Stay tuned.

 

PDF Version

Alignvest – Management Report

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Management Report – December 31, 2023

We are pleased to send you Alignvest Student Housing Real Estate Investment Trust’s Q4 2023 Management Report. 2023 was a successful year for the REIT. We started the year with a flagship property acquisition in Halifax, which expanded our presence into Eastern Canada. Our entire portfolio has delivered strong operating performance, resulting in a 21.4% return to Class F shareholders (with DRIP participation). With the growth in NOI, our portfolio is valued at $961.8 million, an increase of over 15% over the year.

The macroeconomic environment was more stable in the second half of 2023, with inflation decreasing to 4.0% or below since May and the 5-year GoC bond yield dropping over 25% since the end of Q3. We spent much of 2023 focused on building our acquisition and investment pipeline to be ready when deals became actionable. In Q4, with a robust pipeline, we were able to re-open the REIT for subscriptions. We appreciate everyone’s patience with us as we needed more visibility on our ability to put capital to work before taking in additional cash from subscriptions.

In Q4, we completed our equity investment in the partnership that acquired 149 College Street, a 43,118 square foot building in Toronto, steps away from the University of Toronto. We also entered into a contract to acquire a student housing property in a market where we already have operations, with an expected closing date in Q1 2024. In addition, we are in due diligence on multiple additional opportunities.

Our 2024 pre-leasing season is off to a strong start. We are already almost 60% pre-leased at our privately-managed properties for September 2024 and are projecting a 15.1% gap-to-market on sitting rents when compared to budgeted September 2024 lease rates.

Over the past several weeks, the Canadian government has issued new rules and caps applicable to international students. In particular, the focus seems to be targeted to colleges, where we have no exposure. As we stated in our response (link below), we do not believe these changes will have a material impact on our portfolio.

We are expecting to deliver strong performance in 2024 given our market leading position and our strong business fundamentals.  With a strong acquisition pipeline in front of us, we are actively raising capital to pursue these opportunities. The future looks strong, and we are confident in our strategy and the corresponding returns for our investors.

 

Below is the link to our Q4 2023 Management Report.

 

Q4 2023 Management Report Our Response to Canada's Cap on International Students

Alignvest Student Housing – Canada’s Cap on International Students

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On Monday, Canada announced that it is capping the number of international students for two years, with the cap for 2024 at 360,000 students, a decrease of 35% from 2023.

In addition, post-graduate work permits will no longer be available for students in schools under a private-public partnership model and work permits will only be offered to spouses of students enrolled in masters, doctoral and professional programs.

The full news release is available at “Canada to stabilize growth and decrease number of new international student permits issued to approximately 360,000 for 2024 – Canada.ca”.

In the media, the Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, has said, “the main reason for the cap is to protect students who attend colleges, which are often private-public partnerships, that provide inadequate services at high costs, but also to ease pressure on housing and services. Some private institutions have taken advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses, lacking supports for students and charging high tuition fees, all the while significantly increasing their intake of international students.” [Source: Canada to cap international student permits amid housing crunch | Reuters]

OUR ANALYSIS

The cap represents a limit on the number of study permits that will be issued to students who want to come to Canada in the future, not the total number of international students in Canada. There are already an estimated 900,000 international students in Canada that can continue their studies.

While the cap represents a material cut in comparison to 2023, it is still substantially higher than the 256,000 study permits issued in 2020. Over the past three years, the number of permits issued annually has ballooned – this has been fuelled by both growth at universities and also due to rapid growth of colleges operating under private-public partnerships. It is really the latter scenario that Canada is seeking to control.

In fact, the University of Toronto welcomed the announcement and said it would work with all levels of government on the allocation of study permits. The changes are “focused on addressing abuses in the system by particular actors and are not intended to adversely impact universities such as ours,” the university said in a statement. [Source: Canada to cap international student permits amid housing crunch | Reuters]

HOW WILL THIS IMPACT US?

  • Our portfolio consists of 12 properties in six tier-one university markets across Canada. In particular, our properties are located in Halifax (Dalhousie), Ottawa (uOttawa), Oshawa (Ontario Tech), Hamilton (McMaster), Waterloo (Laurier and Waterloo) and Edmonton (University of Alberta). We do not target students attending colleges and have no exposure to colleges operating under private-public partnerships.
  • Based on our tenant survey results, our current tenant base consists of 73.5% domestic students and 26.5% international students. Since we do not target first-year students (who typically live in on-campus residences), our average exposure is less than 9% per year, assuming an equal split between second, third and fourth-year students.
  • The cap represents a 35% cut, which we expect will impact colleges more than universities. However, assuming that universities are equally impacted, we could potentially see our annual intake reduce from ~9% to ~6%. At most of our properties, we have healthy waiting lists of students seeking live in our buildings. We are very confident that we will be able manage the challenge of filling up to 3% of our beds that were previously occupied by international students.
  • As of January 18, 2024, we are 57% pre-leased for the September 2024/25 school year, which is in line with this time last year. We still have over seven months before the start of the school year. We are actively increasing our marketing efforts towards targeting domestic students. In particular, we are actively engaged in promoting a “student life” experience and working with universities to sponsor and support athletics and campus life.

 

In summary, we remain confident that the high quality of our portfolio will continue to attract university students. The changes announced by the Canadian government will have an immaterial impact on our portfolio and we will continue to build and deliver Canada’s leading student housing platform.

StoreWest Bluebird Development Fund Q3 Report

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StoreWest Bluebird Development Fund

The StoreWest Bluebird Self-Storage Development Fund (“The Fund”) is off to a fantastic start. 3projects have begun construction, 4-6 projects have the potential to begin construction by next spring, and new opportunities are being presented to us on a weekly basis. We are very happy with the pace of progress thus far.

Q3 2023 Development Fund Report

StoreWest Bluebird Development Fund Q2 Report

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StoreWest Bluebird Development Fund 

The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve capital appreciation through the development and sale of Class A self-storage projects across Canada.

 

Q2 2023 Report

ICM Bluebird Canadian Self-Storage Q2 Report

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ICM Bluebird

ICM Bluebird Canadian Self Storage LP (“Fund”) was launched in December 2022 to invest in the consolidation and acquisition of a portfolio of self storage facilities across Canada.

 

Bluebird – Q2 2023 Report

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