Student Housing Lincoln receives green light for acquisitions

Harry Conti and Marcus Askam-Yates.

A specialist student accommodation lettings and property management company in Lincoln is preparing to grow through a series of strategic acquisitions. 

Bankers have given entrepreneurs, and former University of Lincoln students, Harry Conti (26) and Marcus Askam-Yates (28) the green light to grow their company, Student Housing, through acquisitions.

“We’ve been looking at the market for some time, and while we are growing at a really fast rate, other lettings agents are struggling. Now is the ideal time for us to expand by buying other letting agents,” says Harry. “If you look at Countrywide, the company that owns Lighthouse Property Services in Lincoln, it has lost 97% of its share value in the last 12 months alone!

“Many industry experts believe Countrywide will not be around in the next few months. Several branches have closed and many senior managers have been laid off recently, so the company is clearly in a downward spiral. 

“We’re worried about where this leaves landlords and students renting through companies like Lighthouse Property Services. What will happen to them if Countrywide is not trading in September when students return to university?

“We’ve sought finance to acquire the Lighthouse brand from Countrywide in the event of the collapse which will allow Student Housing to provide a seamless transition for students and landlords currently with Lighthouse.” 

“By acquiring Lighthouse, we would be able to ensure that all tenants move into their accommodation as planned without disruption and landlords to continue to receive an income.” 

A move for Lighthouse is not guaranteed though, with Harry and Marcus looking at a range of possible targets.

“Countrywide’s situation means there are certainly a number of possibilities for us, but there are other opportunities. Having left the University of Lincoln just four years ago means we have an in-depth insight and experience of what students and their landlords want and need.

“Our unique position has played a significant role in the company’s growth, and other letting agents have recognised this and approached us to gauge our interest in expanding through acquisitions. In the past, we’ve not wanted to grow in this way, but we’re now in a position to consider strategic purchases.” 

Student Housing is the largest specialist student lettings and property management company in Lincoln, providing accommodation for more than 1,000 students in some 300 homes.

As well as Lincoln, Student Housing recently opened a Nottingham office and has amassed a £2.6 million property acquisition fund from investors wanting Harry and Marcus to use their expertise in finding, buying and managing property to maximise their investment returns.