A BLOCK of luxury student accommodation has been sold to a bank in the Middle East,

Ernest Place, a 362-bed block of accommodation next to Tesco Extra, in Gilesgate, Durham has been sold to Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc, which is based in Bahrain.

It bought the accommodation from Studious Investment Management, a specialist boutique student accommodation investor and developer, for an undisclosed sum.

Maz Osman, fund manager for the bank, said: “This is an important acquisition for the bank’s private banking clients which expands our global portfolio of quality real estate investments.

“This asset offers class leading amenity in the Durham student accommodation market. The opportunity has proved extremely popular with our clients and was oversubscribed.”

The purchase was supported by a five year £18.4m investment facility from the Bank of Scotland’s Commercial Real Estate team.

Relationship director Steven Edwards said: “Durham has an undersupply of quality accommodation relative to the size of its student population, which will see a material increase in line with the university’s published expansion plan.

“Ernest Place is a great product at competitive price point and Ahli United have seized on a fantastic opportunity in the North East’s investment market.”

The accommodation will be operated by The Mansion Group.

Head of acquisitions Simon Lowe said: “The Durham University brand is exceptionally strong providing a robust demand pool which is also growing.”