Wall Street Is Ready to Scoop Up Commercial Real Estate on the Cheap | Kanebridge News
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Wall Street Is Ready to Scoop Up Commercial Real Estate on the Cheap

Firms are raising billions of dollars for funds to target assets with slumping values

By PETER GRANT
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 8:14amGrey Clock 3 min

Wall Street firms are raising new funds to acquire office buildings, apartments and other troubled commercial real estate, looking to scoop up properties at a fraction of the price investors paid a few years ago.

Cohen & Steers, Goldman Sachs, EQT Exeter and BGO, formerly known as BentallGreenOak, are among the prominent names raising billions of dollars for funds to target distressed assets and other real estate with slumping values, according to regulatory filings.

“The last few weeks, I’ve been saying, ‘holy mackerel, they’re coming out of the woodwork,’” said Kevin Gannon, chief executive of Robert A. Stanger & Co., an investment-banking firm that tracks real-estate fundraising.

The new funds are seeking to capitalise on one of the most troubled commercial-property markets in decades. Values have nosedived since interest rates spiked last year, driving up borrowing costs in the highly leveraged business. The office market, one of the largest sectors, has also been clobbered by a sluggish return-to-office rate, which has sent vacancy rates soaring. Apartment buildings, an investor haven in the past, look vulnerable as owners try to refinance at much higher rates. Mall owners are contending with steep value declines, some of more than 70% over the past few years.

Commercial-property sales have been moribund until recently because most sellers haven’t been willing to cut their prices to the levels that buyers are demanding. Now, a small but growing number of office owners have begun to capitulate, unloading distressed properties.

The capitulation marks a new phase in the commercial real-estate upheaval, as more beleaguered property owners turn over properties to lenders or decide to take what they can get, rather than hold out hope for an eventual recovery. This wave of fundraising is the latest sign that sales activity is expected to increase as more sellers yield on price.

In one recent example, the owner of a downtown San Francisco office tower unloaded the property for $41 million to developer Presidio Bay. The seller, Clarion Partners, had purchased the property for $107 million in 2014.

While the clearest distress is in the office sector, many property owners with floating-rate debt may also feel pressured to sell at marked-down prices because they are unable to refinance at today’s higher rates. In addition, fund managers expect values to fall as regional banks, under pressure from this year’s rash of bank failures, unload commercial-property loan portfolios at discounted prices.

“There are selective opportunities beginning to arise for investors that are in a position to take advantage of weakness,” said Rich Hill, head of real-estate strategy for Cohen & Steers, which is aiming to raise more than $2.5 billion in a new nontraded real-estate investment trust.

Commercial-property values already have fallen about 10 to 15 percentage points from their peaks in the third quarter last year, and might fall a total of 20 to 25 percentage points, said Hill. “You have to go back to the [savings and loan] crisis and the global financial crisis to see such big declines in property valuations,” he said.

The volume of distressed commercial real estate grew by $8 billion in the second quarter, reflecting the rise in cases where the owners defaulted or lenders foreclosed, according to data provider MSCI Real Assets. That is the biggest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2020.

While most of the new funds are looking to buy property, some are planning to lend to property owners and fill the void left by the cutback in activity from regional banks and mortgage real-estate investment trusts. With less competition, the lenders who are still active are able to charge higher rates and get better deal terms from borrowers.

Invesco Real Estate, which has a long track record of raising funds from institutional investors for real-estate credit funds, is raising its first such fund targeting the retail audience.

Many of the new funds, such as those being raised by Invesco and Cohen & Steers, are targeting individual investors. Smaller investors have shown an enormous appetite for property investments in recent years, especially with the growth of the nontraded real-estate investment trust industry which raised about $100 billion in the past seven years.

But many of the non traded REITs that were formed before last year’s rise in interest rates have been under pressure to redeem money back to investors who want to cash out. Over $9 billion was redeemed in the first six months of this year, according to Stanger, and many investors have been forced to wait to get their money because of the rush to the redemption door.

Still, the new funds will be facing a lot of competition from cash-rich funds aimed at institutions. Opportunistic real-estate funds run by private-equity firms have nearly $145 billion in so-called dry powder for future investments, up from $120 billion at the end of last year, according to data firm Preqin.

It is still possible that distressed opportunities won’t arise if the U.S. economy has a soft landing, in which inflation is tamed by the Federal Reserve without tipping the economy into recession.

Sales volume will likely increase when debt markets stabilise and values become more clear. “Broadly speaking, people are waiting to see what the world looks like,” said Michael Stark, co-head of the PJT Park Hill Real Estate Group, a global advisory firm and placement agent. “They’re waiting for motivated sellers.”



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Tonino Lamborghini recently revealed a new luxury project comprising 241 units in Ras Al Khaimah, developed in partnership with Arista Developments.

Tue, May 21, 2024 2 min

Named the Tonino Lamborghini Residences, this project promises a fresh take on luxury living with its iconic design, cutting-edge amenities, and stunning sea views.

Set on Al Marjan Island, the development is adding 241 high-end units to the area’s real estate offerings, all reflecting the sleek, Italian elegance associated with the Lamborghini name.

These residences are designed to impress, featuring modern architecture that harmonizes with the scenic surroundings and interiors marked by meticulous craftsmanship and top-quality finishes.

Living in this one of the project’s units means access to a range of upscale amenities: a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple swimming pools, beautifully landscaped gardens, and dedicated areas for children’s play. The complex also offers a business center with a conference room, an outdoor BBQ area, and a chic café, catering to all aspects of high-end living.

Arch. Abdulla Al Abdouli, Chief Executive Officer, Marjan, expressed excitement about the introduction of Tonino Lamborghini Residences to Al Marjan Island, noting the project’s blend of sustainable construction and smart home technologies. This integration, he mentioned, guarantees a luxurious lifestyle equipped with the finest modern amenities, reflecting the exquisite Italian craftsmanship. He is confident that this new venture with Arista Developments will significantly boost the allure of Al Marjan Island as a top lifestyle destination in Ras Al Khaimah for both investors and residents.

Tonino Lamborghini, President of the Tonino Lamborghini brand, said: “We are delighted to be among the pioneers in this remarkable new destination in one of the seven emirates of the UAE. Our heartfelt gratitude and recognition go to H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for his visionary leadership and foresight, and for embracing innovative strategies to revitalize a region full of potential.”

Mr. Arthur Chu, Chairman of Arista Developments, highlighted the project’s ambition to capture the essence of the Tonino Lamborghini brand in every aspect of its design. He described the development of a prestigious residential tower on Al Marjan Island that will reflect the lifestyle and beauty synonymous with Lamborghini. From the sharp, well-defined lines of the exterior to the elegantly designed interior common areas, every detail is crafted to showcase the brand’s distinctive elegance and sophistication. Chu emphasized that the interior designs, personally crafted by Tonino Lamborghini, aim to fully immerse residents in the Italian brand’s luxurious identity.

The variety in housing options is vast, ranging from one and two-bedroom apartments to duplexes, sea view villas, signature villas, and exclusive penthouses.

The collaboration between Tonino Lamborghini and Arista Developments blends iconic Italian style with expert real estate craftsmanship. This venture marks Lamborghini’s first introduction to Ras Al Khaimah and represents a commitment to setting new standards in luxury and modern living.

 

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