Tom Barrack over at Colony Capital put up a nice presentation of where he sees the opportunities for real estate investment in the current market. While Colony is geared to serving their large institutional investors, those of us operating on a smaller scale can benefit from Tom’s insights as well.
My Exec Sum of the opportunities he sees that I think will impact smaller investors in North America (and my comments in parentheses):
Commercial and residential real estate are great investments today because equities and debt are mispriced and the economy is regaining its feet. (There will be competition however).
Distressed debt in the US is diminishing but they are continuing to resolve non-performing assets (which can create deals for long term holders as these turned around assets come back to the market).
Single family residential for rent housing is stabilizing and becoming a institutional asset class (which can provide exits for those who have built portfolios of these properties).
Mezzanine debt and what he calls ‘stretched senior debt’ is becoming more available for value add & opportunistic deals because institutional investors such as pension funds need the extra yield (it will be easier to finance turnaround commercial properties at higher LTVs).
Tom Barrack was on CNBC last week to talk about real estate with the traders. Great TB quote to open the show: “It’s always great to be the slowest guy on Fast Money”. There’s more wisdom in that statement than any of the show’s regulars understood.
A couple bullet points but definitely worth watching the video. The link on the image below goes to the Colony website where they edited the three segments together (commercial free too):
Housing [of all types] is the best opportunity. Today there might be a Fed bubble but there isn’t a housing bubble.
The rise in interest rates while not big and still low historically speaking, will hit entry level housing. 100bp (basis point, where 100bp = 1%) rise in interest rates will cost a borrower an extra $150+/- a month on their mortgage payment for a $200,000 home. That will keep more people renting.
Aaron Task speaking on Yahoo Finance’s Daily Ticker show says that: “Owning apartment buildings and renting them out is a great business.” He’s not as sure about the single family REO to Rentals (RtR) model though. Click the image below to view the video, at about 1:44 in he’s talking about apartment building investment:
Tom Barrack of Colony Capital on what’s really happening in US real estate from an investor’s perspective. The clearest, most cogent look at the state of commercial, multifamily and single family markets today and where the opportunities are. The first five and a half minutes is about Europe and the bottom line there is don’t but after that it is all gold. If Tom wanted to be one of those real estate ‘gurus’ he could package this video with a big notebook and some advertising and sell it for $10,000- and it would be better than any of the other stuff out there. And you get it for free. I’ve watched three times and get an extra little nugget each time.
Colony Capital has big plans for the REO-to-Rentals (RtR) sector. Not only do they want to buy 30,000 plus houses to rent them out, they also want to turn RtR into an institutional grade asset class. That has big implications for single family real estate investors who will now have deep pocketed competition that enjoys economies of scale.
An interesting piece from Bloomberg entitled: Private Equity Has Too Much Money to Spend on Homes talking about how hard it is for large funds to buy foreclosed homes in bulk and turn them into rentals reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my private equity clients who was consulted by Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital about doing just that (and he said don’t).
“Funds planning to invest more than $6 billion to buy and rent foreclosed homes are finding it easy to raise money. The difficulty is spending it… The folks that raised capital are worried about under- accumulating properties and how to get capital out in an efficient way, Richard Ford, a managing director in the real estate investment banking group at Jefferies Group Inc., said in a telephone interview. A lot’s being raised. Less than $2 billion of institutional capital has been spent.”
My friend and fellow real estate investor Mei was asking about competition for single family REOs from big institutional players buying them at the courthouse as in the Bloomberg article here. The article profiles Waypoint, a Southern California real estate investing outfit that has developed some great technology to facilitate buying and leasing REOs. Check out Waypoint’s website, it’s the best example I’ve seen of the lease/option, credit repair, rent-to-own strategy for real estate investors.
It is a great question and one that I’d been wondering about too. Just so happens I was meeting with one of my private equity clients last week and we had a long conversation about that very subject. My client is the real estate/mortgage specialist at a 50B firm and they’ve been trying to crack this market profitably for about a year. Here’s the bottom line: Private equity needs to earn Continue reading Clash of housing bottom fairy tales: Big Bad Wolves v. Robin Hood Investors.
Marcus & Millichap’s latest report on Apartment Building Investment called “The Outlook” is just out today. In it they cover the usual national multifamily trends; rents up, vacancy down, economy slowly recovering, jobs growing but could be better. Then they take it a little deeper with these points (bel0w) then flesh it all out with charts demonstrating that things are really picking up for apartment building investors.
Here’s the exec sum:
Expanding Production Capacity Signals Stronger Job Creation.
Sustained employment growth underscores traction in the economy.
Apartment demand surges, completions sink to new lows, and a sweeping recovery matures into an expansion cycle.
Vacancy rates tighten across markets and asset classes, moving the sector into expansion.
Foreclosed homes and government-sponsored REO-to-Rental program offer rental alternatives to apartments.
Cap rate arbitrage and stabilizing operations create a compelling investment thesis for opportunistic and value-add strategies.
Does the market feel like you are in the opening sequence from Terminator II? Are you fighting amidst the wreckage of the previous boom? Surrounded by foreclosures, scarce money, economic gloom and doom? Real estate going into nuclear winter? That’s what market bottoms feel like and as investors we need to get comfortable with that feeling because this is our time to make solid, reasoned investments that produce good results on improving fundamentals. Conditions like this create the opportunities for savvy investors who were patient through the bubble and have waited for the speculative, greater fool market to come to its inevitable end.
Many great real estate investors got their start in rough times like Sam Zell of Equity Residential for instance. He started out buying properties from distressed owners in the late sixties. Tom Barrack of Colony Capital waded through the carnage of the S&L meltdown to buy properties at a discount. Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital also started in the wake of the S&L crisis buying multifamily properties. What will your story be? It’s time get to work and seize the opportunities. Put on your hardhat though because it’s about to start raining real estate, and while not every distressed property is worth pursuing if you stick to your niche and learn your market good deals will surface. Continue reading It’s painful, it’s ugly, it’s what a real estate bottom feels like.