Investment Returns Incentive Important Work

In my journey as a real estate investor, I’ve focused primarily on properties with below-market rents. I’ve assumed that both rising costs of construction and competing housing options would pull rents higher over time. I’ve also counted on some downside protection on purchase price given the significant discount to replacement cost. The basic strategy has … Read more

Class C Delivers

The April Apartment Advisory from Berkadia-RealPage highlights the resilience of more affordable rents during the pandemic. Between March 2020 and March 2021, Class C assets were the only product type to average any rent growth. Additionally, the average occupancy rate among Class C assets in the past year has run about 60 basis points tighter … Read more

Back to the Cities

With a bit more evidence, it’s clear that last year’s “urban exodus” was always a bit more complex than this neatly labeled theme implied. By now, we all understand that lots of people left the largest, most expensive cities for cheaper, less dense markets. But an “urban exodus”? Did everyone leave Manhattan for a spacious … Read more

A Broad Brush is Useless

It’s natural for investors to ask how apartments have held-up during the pandemic. In normal times it’s hard to provide a useful answer given the idiosyncrasies of local markets. But over the past year, factors such as where the property is located (gateway coastal city vs. smaller sunbelt market), the level of rent charged, and … Read more

Rents on the Rise

The latest Yardi Matrix National Multifamily Report paints a picture of a broadening recovery in apartment rents. In the report, you’ll find several of Cove’s favorite markets showing some of the most robust rent trends nationally, including Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Tucson, and the NC Triad. You don’t have to take Yardi’s word for it. The … Read more

Explaining Exceptional Returns for Apartments

There’s an old story about an economist who sees a $20 bill lying on the street but won’t pick it up. Relying on his academic training he explains that the market is efficient and if there really were a $20 bill in the street, someone else would have already snatched it. Well… having spent nearly … Read more

Can’t Sell What You Don’t Have

I was struck by this statistic highlighted in the Wall Street Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Weekly email. Putting aside my petty satisfaction in spotting a typo in the Journal’s infographic, the imbalance here struck me as fascinating. The implication here is that roughly 1/3 of all residential brokers have no listings. And if we assume … Read more

Thoughts on Rising Yields

Given the dramatic move we’ve seen in interest rates in recent weeks, I thought it was important to revisit some of my own assumptions around how my chosen strategy, value-add multifamily real estate, might be affected. There’s no better way for me to organize my thoughts than through writing and sharing, so here goes. There’s … Read more

Comparing Stock Investing to Real Estate

Investing in private equity real estate and publicly traded stocks are similar. How do I know? I’ve invested in more than 2,000 apartment units following a 25+ year professional career in institutional equities (stocks).   It turns out, the valuation framework, tools, and basic skills required to analyze businesses apply to stocks and real estate. Experience … Read more

Boom Time For Home Prices

In the early days of the pandemic, pundits broadly agreed that everybody would flee the cities in favor of suburban single-family homes. Preferences aside, that never seemed to be a realistic outcome. In August, I wrote a blog post, Risks to Class B/C Multifamily Investing, on this topic, arguing as follows: Supply constraints make an apartment exodus impossible … Read more