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Aviva's entrance in to the serviced apartment sector in Dublin is a move of big significance even if the sums involved are relatively small.

Aviva - formerly Norwich Union - is a multinational insurance giant, which manages £490 billion worth of assets for its customers. The sale-and-leaseback deal it has concluded with Prem Group, for between €15 million and €20 million, is a groundbreaking deal for two reasons.

It is the first sale-and-leaseback deal on an aparthotel or serviced apartment development in Ireland, and the first time the Aviva Irish Property Fund has made an acquisition in the hospitality and aparthotel market.

As well as providing further evidence of the increasing attractiveness of the aparthotel sector to major investors, could the deal also encourage operators to take on the development risk on more projects, knowing there is institutional appetite to acquire such developments?

Aviva's fund manager Rhys Evans spoke of "improving sector fundamentals" when discussing the deal, and it is likely we will see more to follow.

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