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16 January 2020, Europe, Germany | Property Investment Management | News

Catella European Student Housing Fund Generates 11.3% Return in 2019 and invests in Vienna

Berlin-based Catella Residential Investment Management GmbH (CRIM) achieved an overall performance of 11.3% in 2019 for its specialist-focused  European Student Housing Fund (CESHF), an open-ended investment vehicle  for institutional investors. The strong investment returns last year were generated through an active portfolio management strategy. That included the sale of a property in Dresden for a significant capital gain and the acquisition of an asset in Vienna, which added a sixth country to the Fund‘s international portfolio.

Launched in 2013 as the first pan-European Student accommodation investment vehicle, CESHF had generated an average return of 7.1% per annum by the end of 2019.

In December 2019, CRIM sold a student residence in the Strehlen district of Dresden for the Fund and this property generated an average annual total return of 10.9% over its approximately five-year holding period. 

Due to the sharp decline in residential yields in some major German cities, CRIM also extended its regional allocation to Austria to further optimise the portfolio. In Vienna, CESHF acquired ‘SMARTments Heiligenstadt’ in the district of Döbling, an 11-storey development comprising 313 units for students and business travellers, for approximately €42 million. With more than 195,000 students, Vienna is the largest student city in the German-speaking countries.

Solvejg Rosenbaum, Fund Manager at CESHF, said: “Our pan European network and the broad investment activity across all Catella funds enables us to manage even highly diversified portfolios efficiently and successfully. The acquisition of SMARTments Heiligenstad in Vienna is a good example of the flexibility in our investment strategy this provides, because we were able to shift our focus from some fully-priced German cities to Austria, the sixth European country for our student housing fund, where the market offered better value.”

Fotocredit „JAMJAM/GBI

SMARTments Heiligenstadt comprises apartments for students and trainees with a living area of approximately 17 to 23 sqm, while the business apartments offer 19 to 31 sqm. The development is scheduled for completion in late 2021. The property is rented to SMARTments Ges.m.b.h., a subsidiary of GBI, on a long-term basis. The seller is a joint venture between GBI and STRABAG Real Estate.

The location of SMARTments is ideal for both user groups and has excellent transport connections. Several universities are located nearby, including the University of Natural
Resources and Life Sciences in the immediate vicinity, as well as a business area comprising a number of well-known companies. Students and trainees pay an all-inclusive rent, which also includes the ancillary costs from heating and electricity to high-speed Internet. All apartments are fully furnished and have a kitchenette, air conditioning and a work area.

The AIFM platform for CESHF is provided by Institutional Investment Partners GmbH (2IP) in Frankfurt.


Catella initiated its first one billion-euro European residential fund in 2007 and this has produced average net returns for investors of 8.3% a year since launch. The fund was one of the first major real estate investment vehicles to invest in the fast-growing student housing market at an early stage. The first specialised European Student Housing Fund was launched in 2013.

CRIM is a subsidiary of Swedish Catella AB in Stockholm and its residential real estate business includes portfolio management, acquisition and sales, and asset management. The company manages and advises several funds and mandates with assets under management of more than €4 billion across nine countries in Europe.

For more information contact:
Lisette van der Ham
Head of PR & Corporate Communication
Catella Residential Investment Management GmbH
Upper West, Kantstraße 164, 10623 Berlin
M: +31 (0)6 83200561