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Lloyd Jones buys luxury South Florida apartments

MIAMI, FL — Lloyd Jones, a multifamily investment firm based in Miami, has purchased the luxury Pembroke Pines property, Ventura Pointe.

The 206-unit apartment community, built in 2018, has a state-of-the-art gym, clubhouse, pool, pet park, and outdoor recreation area. Furthermore, it is adjacent to the 301-bed Memorial Hospital Pembroke and has excellent access to nearby retail and entertainment.

Christopher Finlay, CEO/Chairman of Lloyd Jones, says he is thrilled to expand the firm’s footprint in South Florida, a region that has seen explosive job and population growth in the past few years. “I am excited to grow our South Florida portfolio. We have seen tremendous growth in the area, and we are happy to be able to offer a new, Class A property to support the growing population,” says Finlay.

ABOUT LLOYD JONES
Lloyd Jones, LLC is a real estate investment and development firm with 40 years in the industry under the continuous direction of Chairman/CEO, Christopher Finlay. Based in Miami, the firm has divisions in multifamily investment, development, management, and senior living. Its investment partners include institutions, private investors, and its own principals.

For more information about Lloyd Jones, visit www.LloydJonesLLC.com

3 ways to add value in multifamily real estate

By executing a value-add strategy, many investors have been able to increase returns on their multifamily investments. Value-add investments generally target assets that have existing cash flow, but also offer the upside potential of increasing that cash flow through repositioning and implementing improvements to the property. As a result, the property can command higher rents, attract quality tenants, increase tenant satisfaction/retention as well as increase operating efficiencies.

According to the Yardi Matrix report, U.S. multifamily rents grew 3.2% year-over-year from May 2018 to May 2019. Multifamily operators typically increase rents, but in addition they can achieve an even higher rent premium in assets that have room for improvements.

In multifamily real estate, there are many ways an operator can reposition the property and create value. These includes adding value in the form of interior renovations, exterior improvements to the property, and amenities to achieve higher marketability and resident comfort. Strategic improvements can turn an under-performing asset into a high-performing asset. Such enhancements include interior unit renovations with upgraded appliances, cabinets, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures, depending upon the market and level of upgrades warranted. Upgraded community amenities often include an expanded fitness center, outdoor entertainment areas , and clubhouse modernization. Once the operator has successfully executed the value-add program, the property should yield a rent premium in addition to the standard rent growth in the market. Successful value-add opportunities offer cash flow throughout the hold period and capital appreciation at sale.

Lloyd Jones’ top three recommendations can be grouped into: interior renovations, curb appeal, and upgraded amenities
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1. Interior renovations: Upgrading the units themselves typically involves new cabinetry or appliances and perhaps better flooring. This adds value while aiding in keeping turnover low because these changes directly enhance the quality of life of each resident. At the same time, these energy efficient, maintenance-reducing improvements often decrease the operating expenses of the property.

2. Curb appeal: Not only could improving the landscape of the building please the tenants, but it is likely to catch the attention of potential new residents as well.

3. Upgraded amenities: This can result from enhancing existing amenities such as pools or gyms, or creating new amenities like a dog park or Amazon package locker system. Such changes will offer residents benefits that are typically difficult to access in other types of housing.

Renters often oppose rent hikes. They have many choices in multifamily housing so it is crucial for operators to implement strategies that provide unique or in-demand amenities for which residents are willing to pay premium rents. Without resident satisfaction, there are no fruitful yields for the investment.

Thoughts on the looming recession

Since the Fed announced its rate cut on July 31st, talks of recession have consumed the markets. With the pending Fed meeting on September 17th, it is largely expected that a consecutive rate cut will follow. A continuation of rate cuts would indicate that the Fed believes the US economy is contracting, and thus we are more likely to be closer to the looming recession.

According to Economist John Mauldin, “Lower asset prices aren’t the result of a recession. They cause the recession. That’s because access to credit drives consumer spending and business investment. Take it away and they decline. Recession follows. The last credit crisis came from subprime mortgages. Those are getting problematic again. But I think today’s bigger risk is the sheer amount of corporate debt, especially high-yield bonds.”

 

Economists such as Mauldin are pointing to the high levels of corporate debt as the cause of the next recession, or in other words, the “bubble”. Bubbles occur when the market prices an asset above it’s true value. For investors seeking yield but wanting to avoid the risk of investing in corporate debt, real estate investments are a suitable option.

Real estate investments, particularly multifamily, are often recession-proof investments.  Multifamily real estate is recession-proof because during down markets renters have largely proven to maintain their rents. Such housing doesn’t carry the risk of other classes such as single family. The charts below show the percentage change in the prior year for rental and for sale houses from 2008 to 2018. As illustrated below, during the recession of 2008, rental vacancies dropped less than 1% in the following year while housing vacancies decreased by 10%.

 

The Fed’s next meeting may indicate how quickly the looming recession could occur, but sophisticated investors will position themselves to be prepared in advance.

We are living in a rental economy

A few weeks ago the WSJ reported that “U.S. homeownership rate fell for a second straight quarter, as high prices and limited starter-home inventory are steering more households toward renting.”  This coupled with the fact that home prices rose over the last 2 decades while wages have remained stagnant (see chart below) confirms that we are living in a rental economy.

Although the economics of wages, home prices, and supply drive many hopeful homeowners into renting, others prefer renting for mobile flexibility, lack of debt, and access to amenities and advantages that they may not otherwise have in a single family home.

In Freddie Mac’s recent survey of renters and homeowners, 82% of renters stated that renting is more affordable for them (see chart below). This percentage has steadily increased from 69% in January 2016, further affirming the idea that the rental economy is here to stay.

How are institutional investors reacting to the rate cut?

Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its first rate cut since 2008. This decision surprised few given the uncertainty in the economy and global trade tensions. What did perhaps surprise many was the effect that the Fed’s decision had on the bond markets. Since the Fed’s announcement on July 31, the 10-year treasury yield has dropped from 2.02 to 1.73. But what does this mean for investors’ portfolios?

According to Economist John Mauldin, “the longer an inverted yield curve persists and the deeper it gets, the higher the probability of recession within the next 9–15 months.” Mauldin predicts a flight of capital toward high-yield junk bonds. Such assets may be able to provide yield, but at what cost?

The safest yield-producing investment during such tumultuous times is multifamily real estate. We have been specializing in multifamily real estate for 40 years because during down markets, it is the most resilient asset class (see Figure 1 below from CBRE Research).

We are already witnessing some of the most high profile investment firms, such as Iconiq Capital, buying up apartment buildings throughout major US cities (Source: WSJ). The timing of these investments demonstrates where the smart money is headed to prepare for our next economic cycle, and that is multifamily real estate.

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.

 

Is It Time To Keep Your Money Under The Mattress?

Wait…There’s a better solution.

Interest rates are plunging around the world; some are even closing below zero. And with negative and minimal inflation, the real interest rates are also pushing 0%.

A June 9th Financial Times article on negative rates stated “Lenders in Europe and Japan are rebelling against their central banks’ negative interest rate policies with one big German group going so far as to weigh storing excess deposits in vaults.” And some fund managers are telling clients to keep their cash “under the mattress”! Wow!

It’s understandable when you see real interest rates. A recent Wall Street Journal article included an interesting chart of selected government bond yields. To calculate a real interest rate, economists subtract inflation from the nominal yield – thus the economic struggle between yields and inflation. And on June 10th, the 10-year US Treasury yield fell to its lowest close in 3 years. (At this writing, after Brexit, the 10-year Treasury has fallen below 1.50%.)

lloyd jones capital interest rates chart

No wonder some banks are considering storing money in vaults! Now, compare those returns to direct multifamily investment. With a conservative 60% leverage, a good multifamily real estate investment can earn 8% returns with minimal downside risk. Plus, real estate is a strong hedge against interest rate changes and inflation.

Wise investors are beginning to recognize the value of multifamily real estate investment. In light of this (sometimes negative) interest-rate scenario, it’s time to assign a portion of your investment portfolio to solid multifamily real estate in high growth markets with, of course, conservative leverage.

Look at the Harvard University endowment. Its fiscal 2015 real estate portfolio was its highest returning asset class, at 19.4%. And Yale’s legendary endowment fund, which has consistently outperformed its counterparts, attributes its success to its alternative assets.

Duplicating Harvard’s results going forward is unlikely. But multifamily assets can produce easily an 8% yield and a conservative 16% IRR over the next seven-to ten-year period. And, with depreciation, they will provide a significant tax advantage for the individual investor.

Granted, these investments are not available on your Bloomberg terminal, unless you want to invest in REITS, which are like stock. Even REITS can produce 4% returns and offer liquidity, but the after-tax returns will be substantially less than a good multifamily direct investment. An experienced real estate investment specialist will guide you through the investment process. Be sure that firm has a strong operations arm. Operations is the key to property performance.

So what is the proper allocation? In my opinion, you need 20% in direct, multifamily real estate investment. (Harvard’s real estate commitment for 2016 is between 10% and 17%. Yale University allocated 17.6 percent to real estate in 2014.) After that, I’d suggest 40% stocks; 30% bonds; 10% alternatives.

In all my years (35 in this business) I have never seen such a disparity between yield on the 10-year Treasury and a quality multifamily asset. You’ll notice that I stress “multifamily.” I would be extremely cautious about retail and office investment. But nothing makes more sense than direct multifamily investment. The demographic demand is unprecedented. And everybody needs a place to live.

 

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.

Six Take-Aways From The “Big Boys” That Will Protect Your Investment Portfolio

The West Coast is different. It’s entrepreneurial; it’s leading edge, and it’s full of big ideas. So I headed west to LA to pick the brains of the big guys – some of the smartest in the real estate investment industry. I visited three large real estate funds and two very large family offices. Here’s my take-away.

At Fund #1, the managing director was lamenting that over the past two years, they have acquired only one multifamily investment. In retrospect, he said he wished they had bought more, because it has been their best performer of all real estate asset classes.

When I asked why they had bought only one, he admitted he couldn’t get his head around the prediction that rent growth would be in the 3% to 5% range. Consequently he had presumptively marked his proforma down to a lower number, and the returns were not as good. Surprise!! In hindsight, even those aggressive assumptions have turned out to be conservative. In fact, in many cases, those rent growth numbers have been exceeded.

My take-away:

Obviously, last year he was premature in his concern about rent growth, but he may be right on target for the next several years. In my opinion, multifamily rent growth will be hard to maintain, especially in A and B product. That is, of course, unless – or until – inflation raises its ugly head.

There may be a little room left in C product, but that will hinge more on the ability to pay than on demand. Demand will be insatiable, but already, almost 50 % of all renter households are rent “burdened” (spending more than 30% of income on housing costs).

Major Fund #2 voiced concern that we’re at the top of the market. To confirm his position, he pointed out his office window to a 100,000 square foot spec home under construction. With a $500 million price tag, this home is the highest priced residence in the world. And it’s a spec building! It does make one pause.

Nevertheless, after recently raising substantial funds from one of the big California pension plans, he agreed that multifamily still makes sense. But he added a caveat: It is critical to underwrite the investment very carefully in order to weather any future downturn.

My take-away:

I couldn’t agree more. We need to go into our investments with the mindset to ride out any storm. The multifamily demographics are so overwhelming that I am certain any storm will be a short one, but like all storms, if you are not prepared, it can mean death.

#3 Fund is a multi-billion dollar fund that invests in all asset classes and all around the world. This fund is still very bullish on U.S. multifamily, but it has substantially reduced its return metrics to what is achievable in this market.

My takeaway:

How on earth do these guys expect to deploy all that capital? They, like so many other funds, are collecting billions of dollars for real estate investment. Everybody wants real estate. But where do they find enough assets – and good deals – for all that capital? This is not a distressed situation. Assets are for sale, but at what price? It’s hard to find a really good multifamily real estate investment – primarily because people are paying too much, or at least more than rents can justify.

Another thing we have to consider: A lot of major pension funds are now at the exit stage of previous investments made five to seven years ago. And they have been reaping huge profits. That capital will have to be re-deployed into real estate investments.

Family Office

Finally, we visited a billion dollar family office.

Real estate – specifically multifamily real estate – will be this group’s major investment focus going forward. In the past its investments were spread over all asset classes. This group confided that it now realizes that multifamily provides, without question, the best return metrics in terms of both cash flow and IRR.

In summary, it was a great week with the big boys. It’s always fun to learn how those West Coast brains work. I was happy to see that we are in agreement on most issues.

My final take-away is that my meetings confirmed what I have been preaching for some time:

• Look for C and B product in good neighborhoods. This is still the best possible real estate investment.
• Do not over-leverage.
• Remember that operations/property management is key.
• Be realistic about rent growth.
• Underwrite to weather any upcoming storm.
• Avoid the buying frenzy; be patient; and keep underwriting everything to find the right deal.

Then you will have a safe investment with excellent returns.

 

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.

 

Thank You, Harvard. New Study Confirms Multifamily Rental Growth

Thank you, Harvard.

Once again, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has published a brilliant paper on the status of rental housing. This study supports what we have been saying for the past couple of years– but says it much better than I can. I thought I would share some of the findings relevant to the multifamily investment community and add my two cents. (You can ignore my two cents, but do read the study. It is very interesting.)

 

Among the findings:

Renter Households Number Almost 43 Million (Out of 116 Million Households)

  • Renters now represent 37% of all households, the highest number since the mid-1960s.

That’s a lot of renters, and they need decent housing.

 

Rental Demand is Broad-Based

  • Income: Renters in the top income bracket grew by 61%. In fact, households with incomes of $100,000 or more accounted for 18% of the rental growth from 2005 to 2015.
  • Household size: Single-person households or married couples without children represented half of the growth.
  • Age: The number of renters aged 50 and over grew 50% in the past ten years. In fact, Baby Boomers (50+) represented the largest share of rental growth.

In fact, households of all generations and all income levels have created an increasing demand for rental housing. We now have 43 million renter households in America. And Millennials – the typical, young, first time renters – are still living at home – 25 million of them! Add that to the current 43 million. On top of that, Baby Boomers are predicted to occupy another 12 million rental units in the coming years. That’s a huge pent-up demand! These are astonishing rental housing demographics. And the study suggests that growth in the adult population alone will increase these numbers.  

 

Investors Are Seeing Strong Returns

  • Annual returns grew to 12% in the 3rd quarter of 2015. Historically they have averaged 9.5%.
  • Cap rates are down to about 5 percent, the lowest since the housing bubble.

And this is why Lloyd Jones Capital advises caution when investing in multifamily real estate assets. There is too much capital chasing too little supply. You have to be very careful not to be caught up in the real estate buying frenzy. And be sure you have a seasoned operator who can manage the investment asset.  From personal experience, we know the importance of dedicated property management to the success of any project, which is why we have worked very hard to create the finest management arm in the industry.

 

Housing Affordability is a New Challenge

  • Housing costs are up 7% in real terms since 2001; median renter household income is down 9% in real terms.
  • “Burdened renters” (those spending more than 30 percent of income on housing costs) now number 21.3 million, half of whom are severely burdened (spending 50% of income on housing costs).
  • There are 11.1 million extremely low-income renters (30% of median income) and only 7.2 million units affordable to them.

There’s a lot of new multifamily rental construction, but it is only for high-income renters. The very-low-income renters have at least some assistance. It’s the middle-income American workforce that lacks a supply of quality housing.

 

Federal Assistance Falls Short

  • Since its inception in 1986, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program has added or preserved more than 2.2 million units. (However, many affordability periods will end between 2015 and 2025 which could jeopardize affordable housing options.) This program provides affordable housing to households earning less than 50% or 60% of median income.

This sounds good, and the LIHTC units are typically well constructed and well maintained. As a developer of approximately 40 LIHTC communities throughout the US, I know the program well. However, what began with great intentions during the Reagan era, has subsequently been diluted by all the layers of bureaucracy and special interests. Now, in fact, the cost to construct a LIHTC property can be double that of a market rate, Class A property.

  • The United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has programs, including the voucher assistance, which cover very-low-income households (those earning less than 50% of median income). But real funding for those programs remains below 2008 levels. And the average wait time for a voucher is 23 months.

I have some suggestions here, but will leave the details up to those who understand the HUD housing programs better than I. There are a lot of programs for the very poor. But what about the American workforce that also struggles to find affordable housing? These households don’t have all the assistance that is available to the very low income households. If you took all the money poured into various programs, including LIHTC, and applied it directly to vouchers, I suspect households would be moving out of bad neighborhoods and into safer communities. First, I would expand the voucher program. I would include households above the “very low-income” levels (50% of median income). I would give the low-to-middle income earner some financial assistance, and then let the household choose a neighborhood. Right now, the household is limited by the maximum rent HUD decides is appropriate, and often that is not high enough to meet the asking rent in a nice property. Let the voucher holder contribute to the rent. Let the voucher holder decide priorities. It might be worth being “burdened” in order to live closer to work or in a highly rated school district.

Again, at Lloyd Jones Capital, we are a real estate investment firm that is addressing this issue with our American Workforce Housing Fund. Through this fund, we are acquiring C and C+ properties in good neighborhoods. With modernization and upgrades, we can give these communities amenities similar to those found in Class A properties. And the rental rates remain affordable.

In summary, this is fascinating information regarding the multifamily real estate sector. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University does an exceptional job compiling and presenting the data. The study is full of interesting charts and facts. At Lloyd Jones Capital, we have been saying these things for the past couple of years as we follow trends in cap rates, occupancy rates, etc. We are grateful to Harvard for supplying the quantifying support. You can find the complete study with abundant charts and data here.

 

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.

 

What Does 2015 Tell Us About 2016?

In reviewing 2015, I am reminded of the issues that dominated multifamily investment discussion.

Let’s start with the funds. Blackstone Group LP, the world’s biggest alternative-asset manager, has collected $15.8 billion for its global real estate fund. As of June, 2015, it was overseeing $93 billion in real estate assets. Goldman Sachs is oversubscribed for its $5.3 billion real estate fund. (bloomberg.com/news.)
What does this mean? These are smart people – and they have chosen real estate as their investment class. We all know that real estate provides a stable diversification to the volatility of the equity markets, and it has outperformed those markets for many, many years. But the enormity of these funds is concrete affirmation of its global favor.

Then consider the Millennials: 25 million classic apartment renters are still living at home. And it will be a while before they can afford—or want –to purchase a home: student debt; flexibility to move for job opportunities; later marriages and children, etc. And recently FHA has ruled that potential home buyers who carry student debt will have to include that debt (even deferred) in their debt-to-income calculations. So it will be even harder to qualify for a mortgage. They (25 million) will need rental housing. That’s a lot of apartments.

And the Baby Boomers (born between mid-40s and mid-60s) are also looking to rent. There will be 76 million baby boomers retiring en masse in coming years. Some reports anticipate that in the next fifteen years, renters 65 and older will grow in number to 12.2 million. (Gloria Stilwell, Bloomberg News) Other reports suggest that Boomers may be slower to downsize as the housing bubble peaks, but add that this situation is temporary. Boomers currently occupy 32 million homes, but as circumstances inevitably change, “their actions will reverberate through the housing market.” (Kenneth Harney, Washington Report to Miami Herald. 12/6/15.) That’s even more demand for rental apartments.

That brings us to the housing bubble. With the rise in housing prices, the “US housing market across the board is moving toward rent territory,” Ken Johnson, Ph.D. Especially in Dallas, Houston, and Denver, in terms of wealth creation, data suggest renting as opposed to buying.

Finally – senior housing: It’s not your grandma’s “old folks” home. No more rocking chairs; no more flowered wallpaper, antique credenzas and calico curtains; no reference to “retirees.” By federal law, 55 is the minimum age for “senior housing,” but who at 55 wants to be considered “senior”? (My wife has refused senior discounts because “It sounds so old.”)

Our Baby Boomer renters want a continuation of their active and social lifestyles –but without the headaches. They want modern, show-house furnishings, designer finishes. They want a carefree, luxury lifestyle. They want rental apartments.

Put these all together, and the future of multifamily investment is very exciting. We are going to be busy. The problem is that everybody is jumping on the bandwagon, and there are some crazy deals going down. Good investments are out there, but they are really hard to find. That’s why Lloyd Jones Capital has “boots on the ground” in each of our markets. Not just any boots, but highly experienced VPs, teamed with regional property managers. They scout the area for off-market opportunities.

For 2016, multifamily will continue as the darling of the real estate investment industry. But we must be careful. I predict a cap rate compression unlike anything we have seen before. And that will create other issues. (But I’ll discuss those in another message.)

In the meantime, we aggressively look for solid B and C properties in B and B+ neighborhoods, properties with steady cash flow that show opportunity for improvement. It takes hours and hours of looking and a lot of hard work, but we at Lloyd Jones Capital are very proud of our work ethic and the success it brought us in 2015. And we expect 2016 to be even better.

 

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.