Student accommodation company Unite has exchanged contracts with two buyers to sell £178.6m of its property in regional cities across the UK.

The company, the UK’s largest manager of branded student accommodation, sold eleven properties either owned by the company or out of its Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF).

The assets were sold at 2.8% above their December 2007 valuations.

Mark Allan, Unite chief executive, said: ‘These sales, at prices above the December 2007 valuations, provide strong evidence of the resilience of the student accommodation sector at a time when more general property values are under significant downward pressure

'The sales are consistent with our stated strategy of focusing our capital on higher growth markets and they provide the group with significant additional funds at a time when we expect attractive opportunities to emerge.'

In the larger of the two transactions Unite sold nine properties, totalling 3,810 beds in Cardiff, Preston, Southampton and Stoke, to Liberty Living, the student accommodation arm of Brandeaux Fund Management, for £152m and a net initial yield of 5.7%.

In the second deal, two properties in Hull, totalling 627 beds, are being sold to asset manager Swanbourne for £26.6m.

Unite said the money raised would be used by USAF to buy more properties over time, and to reduce Unite's exposure to debt.