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Lloyd Jones Names COO of Property Management

MIAMI — Lloyd Jones has named Steven Druth its chief operating officer of property management. Druth brings over 30 years of real estate experience to the Miami- based, real estate private equity firm.

As a commercial brokerage and management specialist, Druth operated his own Boston based firm for ten years before moving to Manhattan’s largest independent real estate agency.

“I am very excited about my expanded role at Lloyd Jones and look forward to further increasing efficiency and resident satisfaction at all of our properties,” said Druth.

Throughout his career, operational efficiency and strategic leadership have been the trademark skills that Druth will now add to the Lloyd Jones executive team.

“I’ve known Steve for many years and his people management skills are exceptional,” said Lloyd Jones chairman, Chris Finlay. “With his extensive experience in our industry, I am very confident that he will take our operating platform to a new level.”

 

About Lloyd Jones

Lloyd Jones is a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily and senior housing sectors. Building on thirty-eight years in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Florida, Texas, and the Southeast. Its investors include institutional partners, family offices, private investors, and its own principals.

How to Make Inflation Your Friend

Central banks like the Federal Reserve battle inflation – the general rise in prices—by boosting interest rates. In a benign environment, the rate of inflation is low, but as the economy heats up, inflation increases and robs the local currency of some of its buying power. By lifting interest rates in small increments, the Fed moderates the economy by increasing the cost of capital, that is, how much interest you have to pay to finance a project with borrowed money. Some potential projects will not go forward because they can’t generate the required rate of return necessary for investment due to the higher cost of capital. After all, the more of the project’s revenues that must be spent on interest and higher costs leaves less to compensate investors for committing their money to the investment.

As inflation and interest rates rise, what happens to multifamily real estate investment? In general, real estate values rise along with, and act as a hedge against, inflation. But the devil is in the details, and it takes the right combination of management, financing and location for a particular real-estate investment to benefit from inflation.

Make Inflation Your Friend 

Inflation and its accompanying interest rate increases affect a multifamily real estate investment in several ways. Let’s break it down.

This is how stock markets sometimes operate, with seemingly endless trends suddenly interrupted and/or reversed. A long bull market tends to attract ‘’weak” investors who are not accustomed to, and can’t stomach, a sudden sell-off. Weak investors are the first to sell their stocks when prices begin declining, which can have a snowball effect that causes volatility to skyrocket.

Net Operating Income (NOI) 

A property’s NOI is its revenues from rents and fees minus the costs of operating the property. For a property to benefit from inflation, its income must grow faster than its expenses. In the context of a multifamily property, this means that the rent increases must at least keep pace with the inflation rate, while costs require tight control to keep their rise below the inflation rate.

A good investment property in an inflationary environment will support sufficient rent increases with each lease renewal, which in turn depends upon the value perception of tenants, lease terms, and the availability of competing rentals. Improved property management can increase occupancy rates and rents by addressing structural and operational problems. Operating expenses can be controlled in numerous ways by better, hands-on property management, including switching to lower cost vendors and suppliers, more cost-efficient and effective marketing, and repairing costly problems. All of these are features of a value-add strategy, the hallmark of Lloyd Jones investment properties. The ideal property must pass our proprietary screening protocols that evaluate a property’s suitability for value-add. In other words, we need to make sure the value we add through rehabbing and better management will increase NOI. At Lloyd Jones, very few properties make it through our tough screening.

Net Profits

NOI does not include the cost to finance a property with debt – that is, the interest rate on the underlying mortgage. Net profits, on the other hand, do indeed depend on ensuring that financing is structured to provide maximum protection from the rising interest rates that accompany inflation. Here are several of the strategies we use:

1. Sensitivity analysis: Our screening protocol projects how a property’s value will fare if interest rates rise when we refinance the property (to unlock and extract equity) at the end of the value-add period, typically two to three years after purchase. We model the sensitivity of the investment’s return to a wide spectrum of interest rates so that we can quantify the risk involved in refinancing during an unfavorable borrowing environment.

2. Control leverage: Debt is indispensable to most real estate projects, but too much debt, or leverage, can swamp an investment with unsustainable interest expenses. We typically structure multifamily investments with a 70 percent cap on loan-to-value. In other words, our financing requires 30 percent equity contribution from investors to limit exposure to rising interest rates. We also observe conservative borrowing standards – we take only non-recourse loans (the property alone serves as collateral, and the lender cannot attach other investor assets), and never cross-collateralize our properties (meaning the default of one property doesn’t affect the financing of any other property).

3. Build a cash cushion: By specializing in value-add properties, we have the ability to build a cash cushion that wouldn’t be available from a stabilized property. This cushion can help protect the investment even if high interest rates negatively affect property values and cash flows.

4. Flexible debt: We often use a mix of fixed and floating-rate debt with staggered maturities. This helps keep interest costs low during the value-add period and helps us avoid overly-large refinancing tranches. We also like to structure our loans for terms of at least five years, which gives us a two-to-three-year cushion following the value-add period to refinance. This can come in handy if interest rates spike two to three years after property acquisition.

5. Reap what ye sow: We constantly evaluate whether it would benefit investors more to sell the property rather than hold it. This reduces our investment exposure during periods of rising interest rates. At the same time, we carefully manage our own cash position and debt facilities to weather rough market conditions without having to succumb to panic selling due to a cash crunch.

Property Value

The total return from a real estate investment is composed of the net cash flows and capital appreciation. The value of a properly selected and managed multifamily property should appreciate with inflation. Two factors are at play:

1. Higher rents: The value of a rental property is fundamentally tied to the rents it generates. Periods of high inflation produce rising wages and profits, conditioning tenants to pay higher rents for a given space and thereby boosting property values. Consumers with a greater sense of wealth will be motivated to move to nicer apartments, creating higher demand and higher rents.

2. Restricted construction: As inflation increases, construction costs rise (due to higher material and labor costs) as does the amount of interest charged for construction loans. These factors tend to restrict new construction, helping to limit the supply of competing housing.

Increased demand and decreased supply equates to higher property values and the prospect of greater capital appreciation during times of high inflation.

In summary, multifamily real estate investments can perform well during inflationary times if the properties have the right characteristics and are managed with a strong, knowledgeable hand. We invite you to speak with us about our past performance during all types of economic environments, and the opportunities we see right now in the multifamily and senior community market segment.

About Christopher Finlay
Christopher Finlay is chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. For the past thirty-seven years, and through every economic cycle, he has owned and operated successful multifamily businesses. Predecessor companies include commercial brokerage, appraisal, property and asset management, construction, and development.

Headquartered in Miami, Lloyd Jones Capital acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast on behalf of institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals.

How Does Stock Market Volatility Affect Multifamily Real Estate Investment?

The short answer is that stock market volatility increases demand for multifamily real estate investment, because real estate is much less volatile than stocks. For those who don’t want to invest all their money in the roller coaster stock market, real estate is, over the long run, a relatively tranquil alternative. Let’s dig deeper into the concept of volatility to explore the differences between the stock and real estate asset classes.

Something’s Happening Here

Volatility is, according to Investopedia, “the amount of uncertainty or risk about the size of changes in a security’s value.” The higher the volatility, the greater the chance that a stock’s or index’s value will suddenly and dramatically change.

A volatility spike in February 2018 awakened many stock investors to the fact the fact that stocks also go down. It’s been a long bull market, and we haven’t had a meaningful correction in more than two years. Suddenly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1,000 points twice in February, a clear sign of heightened volatility, if not outright panic.

Now, take a look at the following chart. It’s a one-year chart of the Chicago Board of Exchange’s VIX Index, which measures the volatility of stock futures and options. The spike in February is all the more startling when seen against the flat backdrop over the last year.

This is how stock markets sometimes operate, with seemingly endless trends suddenly interrupted and/or reversed. A long bull market tends to attract ‘’weak” investors who are not accustomed to, and can’t stomach, a sudden sell-off. Weak investors are the first to sell their stocks when prices begin declining, which can have a snowball effect that causes volatility to skyrocket.

The Volatility Opportunity

Sudden bouts of volatility create an opportunity for you to think about your own tolerance for risk. Perhaps you invest in the stock market to reap current dividend income, only to realize in horror that a sudden decline in stock value can wipe out years of dividend payments. By the way, the so-called safer bond market is also vulnerable to abrupt bouts of volatility, creating losses that overwhelm interest income. Which brings us to our point: Thoughtful investors look to lower their risks as they seek to achieve their investment goals, and multifamily real estate investing is one of the surest means of accomplishing this strategy, because it offers steady long-term income with very little volatility. Let’s see why:

  1. Diversification: Real estate market returns are not closely correlated to those from stocks, creating an excellent vehicle for diversification. As stocks bounce higher and lower, real estate follows its own course that can help steady the value of your total portfolio. Many financial advisors recommend prudent investors allocate at least 25 percent of their portfolios to alternate investments such as real estate.
  2. Rents vs dividends: During bear markets, companies that find themselves in financial distress often cut their dividends to conserve cash, which takes only a vote by the board of directors to accomplish. Tenants, especially ones living in carefully screened multifamily apartment complexes and senior communities, are highly motivated to keep paying their rent, making it a much more reliable source of income to investors. The multifamily advantage over single-family rentals is due to economies of scale: More separate rental cash flows per square foot. That translates into lower overall management costs and a smaller impact when the occasional collection issue arises.
  3. Alignment of interests: It’s upsetting enough when your stock suddenly loses a good share of its value in a volatile market. Adding insult is the fact that the stock broker or analyst who recommended the stock need not own a single share. Brokers make their living from commissions, which gives them a financial incentive to favor volatility and the churn it creates. By the way, fund managers don’t have to invest in their own funds either. We do things differently at Lloyd Jones, in that we take an equity stake in every one of our properties. In other words, we align our interests with those of our investors.

The Value of Specialization

Many stock investors seek to lower their risks through the purchase of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. True, this will lower non-systemic risk, but at a cost – you have no control over the choices made by the portfolio manager. If you seek out the best fund managers, you should keep in mind that they will probably charge higher fees and in the long run will likely underperform the market – just ask Warren Buffet.

Purchasing an index fund doesn’t solve the control problem. They are cheap, but by definition give you average returns and average risk, meaning you don’t benefit from expert specialized knowledge since these funds run on auto-pilot.

Lloyd Jones believes you can do better than average when you apply specialized expertise to given segments of a market. We do this through first through geographical specialization, by investing in business-friendly, low-tax states in the Southeast, especially Florida and Texas. Senior and multifamily housing investments are favored in this region due to warm weather, low costs and low taxes.

Geography is a good start, but it takes a lot more to identify real-estate investments with solid cash flow prospects and low risk. We select properties with good cash flows that would benefit from more capitalization or better management. Only one percent of properties make it through our screening process. These are the ones we acquire and operate, and in doing so add value for all investors, including ourselves.

Specialization pays off in this context without sacrificing the benefits of diversification. For one thing, each property stands alone, without cross-collateralization, to isolate any problems from affecting other properties. Our funds provide diversification by spreading risk across eight to ten properties in at least four different markets, and specialization by choosing our markets, property types and properties carefully – a small subset of the total market.

There is no better time than right now to redeploy some of your stock and bond market assets to multifamily real estate investments. Recent volatility spikes are a warning of rough seas ahead, but carefully selected real-estate investments have the ability to steady your portfolio in the most turbulent times.

Post Script:  Based on the front page of the Wall Street Journal of 2/26/18, margin bets will continue to fuel market volatility.

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About Christopher Finlay
Christopher Finlay is chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. For the past thirty-seven years, and through every economic cycle, he has owned and operated successful multifamily businesses. Predecessor companies include commercial brokerage, appraisal, property and asset management, construction, and development.

Headquartered in Miami, Lloyd Jones Capital acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast on behalf of institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals.

Lloyd Jones Capital Announces Vice President of Acquisitions

Private Equity Real Estate Firm Expands Its Texas Presence

MIAMI – Lloyd Jones Capital, a Miami-based multifamily investment firm, has announced the appointment of Neil Bertrand, vice president of acquisitions. Neil will lead the company’s acquisition effort for the Texas market.

“The addition of Neil to our team is instrumental as we continue to seek acquisition opportunities in Texas, one of our key strategic markets,” commented Chris Finlay, Lloyd Jones Capital, chairman and CEO.

Neil Bertrand’s 20-year real estate career includes positions with four of National Multifamily Housing Council’s Top 50 Firms. Throughout the course of his career, Neil has been responsible for the oversight of conventional, tax credit, senior housing, and student housing portfolios. Neil has led projects including acquisition analysis, due diligence, renovation, new construction, and lease-up of assets in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and North Carolina.

“I am excited to join the Lloyd Jones Capital team. With a successful history of more than 35 years in real estate, the company continues to produce positive results for its investors. Leading the state’s acquisition efforts should yield long-term results as Texas continues to lead the nation in employment growth,” remarked Neil Bertrand.

Neil attended Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas, and holds the Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS®) designation from the National Apartment Association. He is also an Accredited Residential Manager (ARM®) and a Certified Property Manager (CPM®) Candidate with the Institute of Real Estate Management.

About Lloyd Jones Capital

Lloyd Jones Capital is a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. With 37 years of experience in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast. Lloyd Jones Capital provides a fully integrated investment/operations platform.  Its property management arm partners with the investment team to provide local expertise in each of its markets.

Headquartered in Miami, the firm has offices throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast, plus New York City.  The firm’s investors include institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals. For more information visit: lloydjonesllc.com.

Lloyd Jones Capital Acquires Jacksonville Apartment Community

MIAMI –  Lloyd Jones Capital, a Miami-based multifamily investment firm, has acquired the Deerwood Park apartment community in Jacksonville, Florida. The property is located in the Deerwood Office Park on Touchton Road, home to 5.2 million square feet of office space and the largest employers in the MSA. Residents of Deerwood Park enjoy an address that offers a live, work and play lifestyle in Southside, one of Jacksonville’s most desirable neighborhoods.

The 282-unit acquisition brings the Lloyd Jones Capital multifamily portfolio to nearly 5,000 units spread across Texas, Florida, and the Southeast.

“We are elated with the acquisition of Deerwood Park. Jacksonville is a key market for us and Deerwood Park is a value-add asset with tremendous upside opportunity,” commented Chris Finlay, chairman and CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital. “Lloyd Jones Capital plans to enhance the property with a value-add program that we anticipate will yield rent and occupancy growth for our investors.”

Built in 2002, the gated property offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments with highly sought-after amenities including attached garages, a resort luxury style pool, outdoor kitchen with gas grills and a dog park.

Deerwood Park will be managed by Finlay Management, the operations group at Lloyd Jones Capital.  Finlay Management is an Accredited Management Organization (AMO®) as designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®) and has a 37-year history in the industry.

About Lloyd Jones Capital

Lloyd Jones Capital is a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. With 37 years of experience in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast. Lloyd Jones Capital provides a fully integrated investment/operations platform.  Its property management arm partners with the investment team to provide local expertise in each of its markets.

Headquartered in Miami, the firm has offices throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast, plus New York City.  The firm’s investors include institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals. For more information visit: lloydjonesllc.com.

 

Lloyd Jones Capital Acquires 242-Unit Tallahassee Apartment Community

MIAMI –  Lloyd Jones Capital, a Miami-based multifamily investment firm, has purchased the Jackson Square apartment community in Tallahassee, the Florida state capital. The property is located at 1767 Hermitage Boulevard which connects Thomasville Road and Capital Circle, NE, just south of I-10. The 242-unit acquisition brings the Lloyd Jones Capital portfolio to 4,500 units spread across Texas, Florida, and the Southeast.

Says Chris Finlay, chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, “This is a well-maintained property, with every amenity, in one of the best neighborhoods of Tallahassee.  We expect it to provide steady income and capital appreciation for our investors.”

Built in 1996, the property offers one-, two-, and 3-bedroom apartments; garages; and a modern clubhouse that includes an interior racquetball court.  Lloyd Jones Capital will continue a value-add program initiated by the previous owner. Finlay adds, “Our local teams scour Texas, Florida, and the Southeast for good investment properties; they are hard to find. Jackson Square is one of the best.”

According to Finlay, property management will be handled by Finlay Management, the operations group at Lloyd Jones Capital.  Finlay Management is an Accredited Management Organization (AMO®) as designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®) and has a 37-year history in the industry.

About Lloyd Jones Capital

Lloyd Jones Capital is a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. With 37 years of experience in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast.

Lloyd Jones Capital provides a fully integrated investment/operations platform.  Its property management arm partners with the investment team to provide local expertise in each of its markets.

Headquartered in Miami, the firm has offices throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast, plus New York City.  The firm’s investors include institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals.

For more information visit:  lloydjonesllc.com.

 

So, What’s An Investor To Do?

“The golden era [of stocks and bonds] has now ended,” says a McKinsey & Company report issued last year. The report suggests that returns on equities and fixed-income investments could see significant decreases – up to 400 or 500 basis points over the next twenty years.   According to the report, this will affect everybody, from pension funds that will face larger funding gaps; asset managers who will see lower fees; and insurers whose earnings depend on investment income.  And on a personal level, the new generation of retirees will retire later and with less income.

And more recently, Bloomberg reported that “U.S. markets are at their highest risk levels since before the 2008 financial crisis… according to Bill Gross, manager of the $2 billion Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund.” The article continues, “Gross said that ‘…returns are going to be lower.’”  These thoughts are echoing throughout the industry.

To prepare for the new era, investors are seeking alternative investments.  Many are choosing real estate. And with good reason. In fact, as far back as 2012, a JP Morgan paper suggested that real estate is no longer an alternative, but rather a “way out.”  “An alternative no more.”  Just look at the endowment portfolios of major academic institutions, led by Yale whose successes are legendary. Yale has allocated 12.5% of its investment to real estate.

Maybe it’s time for you to consider investment alternatives and diversifying your investment portfolio by adding real estate. Why?

Reduced Volatility
Real estate is stable, unlike the stock market that reacts to every nuanced whisper in politics or the economy.  It is not correlated to the stock and bond markets. Real estate offers a steady, reliable return.   Studies show that, by adding real estate to a mixed portfolio, you will see an increase in returns and, perhaps even more important, a reduction of risk based on return/unit of risk.

I’m not talking about a REIT.  A REIT is like a stock; it goes up and down with the equity markets.  I’m talking about a direct investment in private equity joint venture or a fund.

Cash Flow
Cash flow is the key.  You should receive, at the very least, six-plus percent annual return on your investment. Our goal in today’s market is yield – a reliable, on-going cash flow return.

And this is not about short term. The days of “fix and flip” passed us a couple of years ago. Now, we hold our properties for several years while enjoying the steady cash flow and substantial appreciation.

Hedge Against Inflation: Anticipated and Unanticipated
We factor anticipated inflation into our underwriting projections.  We expect an increase in expenses, and we project an increase in rents to cover them.  Remember, real estate is a hard asset.  As new construction costs increase, the cost of replacing the existing structure also rises (along with its value) creating yet another potential hedge against unanticipated inflation.

Capital Gains

When you get your money back, it is treated as capital gain, a favorable tax rate.

The Private-Equity Real Estate Fund          

We like funds. You will, too.  But it is important to focus – and to focus on an asset class your investment partner knows and understands.

Focus
At Lloyd Jones Capital, our focus is middle-income housing. It’s what we have been doing for years. According to virtually every demographic study, the supply will never catch up to the demand.

And we focus on Texas and the Southeast, home to ten of the 15 fastest growing cities plus seven of the ten “best cities for job growth.”  We like to be where the people like to be. Plus, we have existing operations throughout these markets.

Diversification
We like funds because you can spread the risk as an investment alternative among various properties and geographic markets. A disappointing performance of one asset will not affect the others. In fact, the others will most likely compensate for it.

We like eight to ten properties in four or more different markets for maximum diversification. We have operations in every market we serve, and our local presence gives us a tremendous advantage in finding, acquiring, and operating properties within these territories.

Stand-Alone Entities
Our fund structure allows us to hold our investments property by property. Each one operates as a separate business. There is no cross-collateralization.  A market slow-down in one area will not affect the other properties. We prepare a business plan for each specific property, and we can choose individual hold terms and disposition times.

Alignment of Interest
We believe in our investments; we are thoroughly committed to them, so we participate financially in every one, alongside our investors.

So, what’s an investor to do?
I suggest that we all heed the words of today’s best-known economists and be prepared for the unknown future of the equity and fixed-income markets.  It would be wise to look at this asset class as an investment alternative diversify your portfolio with multifamily real estate. Private-equity real estate offers protection from stock market swings and a hedge against inflation.  It provides a steady cash flow, appreciation, and great tax advantages.  What other asset class says that?
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About Christopher Finlay
Christopher Finlay is chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, a private-equity real estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. For the past thirty-seven years, and through every economic cycle, he has owned and operated successful multifamily businesses. Predecessor companies include commercial brokerage, appraisal, property and asset management, construction, and development.

Headquartered in Miami, Lloyd Jones Capital acquires, improves, and operates multifamily real estate in growth markets throughout Texas, Florida, and the Southeast on behalf of institutional partners, private investors, and its own principals.

Finlay Management, Inc. Chooses New President and Chief Operating Officer

MIAMI, Fla.-– Finlay Management, Inc., a private multifamily property management firm with offices in Florida, Texas, and South Carolina, has announced the appointment of Holly Costello as president and chief operating officer.

Costello is a 25-year veteran of the multifamily real estate industry and has held executive-level positions with some of the nation’s leading property management firms. “Holly brings a wealth of experience and exciting new ideas to Finlay Management,” says Christopher Finlay, chairman and CEO.

Costello’s long career includes nine years at Balfour Beatty, where she was vice president of both the multifamily and Navy military divisions. Earlier she had served as senior vice president with Walden Residential where she was instrumental in positioning the 24,000-unit portfolio for a successful market offering. Her expertise covers all residential asset classes including affordable, conventional, student, and military housing. Her management portfolios have included new construction/lease-ups, troubled receiverships, and major renovations.

According to Christopher Finlay, Finlay Management serves as the operations division of its affiliated multifamily investment firm, Lloyd Jones Capital. He explains, “Operations is the most critical component of a successful multifamily investment. Our investors will appreciate Holly’s extensive management background and her understanding of real estate investment.” Holly will sit on Lloyd Jones Capital’s executive and investment committees.

Costello holds a Certified Property Management (CPM®) designation and was the 2016 president of the West Coast Florida chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®). She has held executive board positions with the Bay Area Apartment Association, Florida State University Executive Real Estate Committee, Urban Land Institute Multifamily Council, and the University of Florida Bergstrom Council. She attended the University of South Florida and Florida State University and holds numerous management, tax credit compliance, and appraisal designations.

FINLAY MANAGEMENT, INC.
Finlay Management, Inc. is a private multifamily property management firm with almost forty years of experience in the market-rate, senior and affordable housing sectors. The firm holds the esteemed Accredited Management Organization (AMO)® designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)®. Finlay provides property management services to its affiliate, Lloyd Jones Capital, a multifamily real estate investment firm with offices in Texas, Florida and South Carolina.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Samantha Savory
Director of Marketing/PR
Lloyd Jones Capital
Ssavory@lloydjonescapital.com
O: 305.415.9910

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Skip the Flip in Multifamily Investment

It’s time to go long.

Historically, multifamily investment has been about long-term, cash-flow returns. However, in recent years, as the industry caught the eye of private equity, the emphasis turned to a property’s IRR or Internal Rate of Return.

The “fix and flip”, the “value-add” became the standard: short hold, quick fix, big return. And the multifamily real estate buying frenzy began. The strategy has proved to be very profitable over the past five or six years, but in my opinion, those days are (almost) gone – for several reasons.

TODAY, THERE’S NOT ENOUGH MEAT left on the bones of C and B properties to ensure investors of increased rents and resultant returns. The fix and flip strategy had been to buy an apartment community and execute a “value-add” to approximately 20% of the units, thus leaving “meat on the bone” for the next investor. At the same time, the investor would raise the rents to cover the cost of the improvements. So rents increased, NOIs rose, prices went up, and the buying frenzy continued.

The next investor then thought he could upgrade another 40% of the units. But in fact, as cap rates fell and he had to pay more for the asset, he had to rehab 70% or 80% to reach his hurdles, leaving almost nothing left for the following investor. Consequently, today, after a couple of “flips”, most “value-add” deals don’t make financial sense.

RENTAL RATE INCREASES  Because of demand, rents have risen sharply in nearly every market, but according to economists, that increase should moderate to about 3.5 to 4% due to new construction coming online. Consequently, investors cannot assume drastic rent increases in their acquisition proformas. If it doesn’t work now, it won’t work in the future.

THE ECONOMY:  We’re long into our economic expansion cycle having exceeded the historic five-year average, but today in the US, growth is virtually stagnant. Are we reaching the peak? The good news is that multifamily real estate will continue to be among the strongest asset classes (if not #1) for reliable, steady returns regardless of the stage of the economic cycle. Why?

DEMAND: There is still an unfulfilled demand that is expected to be with us for a long time. That is the multifamily investment’s ace in the hole. Seventy-five million millennials plus another 75 million baby boomers. The multifamily rental business is poised to perform better than any other asset class. We have all read about millennials and their student loan debt and inability to afford a home. I personally think it has little to do with money. It’s about lifestyle, flexibility, and priorities. Young people want flexibility to move to that next job; they want amenities and social interaction. A house is not a priority to them. Retiring baby boomers, on the other hand, have “been there; done that.”  They are ready to free themselves from the burdens and expenses of home ownership. Whatever the reason, more people are renting today than at any time in the past 51 years.

INTEREST RATES: This brings us to interest rates – a very key and important ingredient in real estate investment. Who knows what might happen next? Answer: Nobody. One thing we do know: there’s little likelihood of a reduction in interest rates, although it’s not impossible. In Europe, where the real rate is in negative territory, some banks are considering storing money in their vaults because of the negative yields. It costs them money to make loans! And the US is getting close to that level. (See my blog post from June 14, 2016, titled “Is it time to keep your money under the mattress?“) But luckily for the multifamily investment industry, this big question mark can be taken off the table. We can counter the risk by locking in fixed rates today. We know what our debt will be for the duration of our investment.

So what does all this have to do with “going long”?

Multifamily investment is probably the most stable, reliable investment one can choose. But the strategy has changed. It’s time to “go long.” Forget about the unrealistically high-return value-adds so prevalent at the beginning of this cycle. They no longer exist. Lloyd Jones Capital recommends buying quality properties that produce consistent cash flow. Focus more on yield than IRR. Consider a long-term hold and do not over-leverage. Then, assuming good management, you should enjoy a reliable, long-term return on your investment.

Christopher Finlay is Chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, a private-equity real-estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. With 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, manages and improves multifamily real estate on behalf of its institutional partners, private investors and its own principals. Headquartered in Miami, the firm has operations throughout Texas, Florida and the Southeast. For more information visit: lloydjones.wpengine.com.

One Easy Way to Preserve Your Wealth – And Enjoy It, Too

If you are reading this blog, you are most likely interested in accruing wealth through savvy investment strategies. There are lots of places to put your money; investing is not really the issue. The issue is: what investment options are best for preserving your wealth?

One answer is real estate.

It is said that 90% of the Forbes 400 index of the world’s wealthiest people either made or retained their wealth through real estate. But not just any real estate. These people own high-quality, income-producing real estate, like apartment communities and office buildings. The ultra-wealthy hold real estate long term, because they know that is how to preserve their wealth.

Your luxury home, your Alpine ski chalet, and your “investment” condos in New York and Miami may (if you are lucky) provide some asset appreciation when you sell them, but in the meantime, they are costing you more than you will recoup. My advice: Enjoy them, but do not count on them to preserve your wealth. Do not expect them to be long-term wealth enhancers.

I just read an ad for an exotic car rental company called Lou La Vie. What a great philosophy! Rent the things that add to your enjoyment of life. Whether it’s cars or boats or condos, you can rent them when you want them, and that’s a lot cheaper than owning. But buy future security.

And now is the perfect time. I’ve been in the real estate business for almost 40 years and I’ve never seen a better opportunity to invest in multifamily (apartment communities) real estate in the U.S. Home ownership is at its lowest rate in years, and apartment living is soaring, both for renters by choice and renters by need. U.S. demographics point to continuing demand for rental housing.

Why? Just look at the traditional American first-time home buyers. They are not buying homes:

1) They are burdened with large student loans and other debt. Unable to find jobs after college, they went to back to school.
2) They don’t have the money for down payment on a home.
3) They are delaying marriage and starting a family which is a driving factor in home ownership.
4) They want flexibility for employment purposes to move to a new job.

So they are renting. And, interestingly enough, so are their parents and grandparents as they down size or retire.

There are many more reasons to choose multifamily real estate to supplement your investment portfolio: on-going income, asset appreciation and tax advantages. Plus, real estate has outperformed all other asset classes over the past 12 years, and its value does not rise and fall with the stock and bond markets. And interest rates!  Right now, with low interest rates, we can leverage funds to provide the greatest returns.

I could go on and on about the advantages of multifamily real estate. If you would like to discuss it, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@lloydjonescapital.com.

By the way, there are several ways to invest in real estate. At Lloyd Jones Capital, we offer direct investment (as opposed to a REIT which is like buying stock). We have funds that we co-invest with major institutional partners for maximum leverage; we have individual property investments, and we have funds that target specific categories such as workforce housing. Or we can help you acquire a property and become your asset manager to protect your investment.

Good asset management is one of the keys to successful multifamily investing. But the most important, after analyzing and choosing a property, is the day-to-day property management of the asset. Lloyd Jones Capital partners with its sister company, Finlay Management, Inc. to oversee the operations and maintenance. Finlay Management has been in the business since 1980 and is an Accredited Management Organization.

Let me leave you with this reminder: Rent lifestyle; but for wealth preservation, purchase a quality, U.S. apartment complex.

 

Christopher Finlay is Chairman/CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, a private-equity real-estate firm that specializes in the multifamily sector. With 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, the firm acquires, manages and improves multifamily real estate on behalf of its institutional partners, private investors and its own principals. Headquartered in Miami, the firm has operations throughout Texas, Florida and the Southeast. For more information visit: lloydjones.wpengine.com.