Value Add Growth REIT III LLC
The Company was formed to invest in real estate projects in the United States. The Company will focus primarily on multifamily value-add properties but will also look for opportunities across other commercial real estate sectors, including industrial projects, data centers, self-storage, and medical office projects. The Company might seek to identify existing projects that have become distressed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but distressed projects will not be its principal focus.
Investments Through Other Entities
Sometimes the Company will own real estate directly. Most of the time, however, the investments made by the Company will be through other entities (“Project Entities”). For example, if the Company invests in a multi-family property, the property will likely be owned by a different entity, such as a limited partnership or a limited liability company. Typically, Project Entities will be controlled by the Sponsor or another entity controlled by the Sponsor. However, if the Company does not control the Project Entity itself then it will retain control rights, meaning the Company’s consent will be required to certain major actions taken by the Project Entity, such as the sale or refinancing of its real estate and the replacement of its manager or general partner.
The Company is governed by a Limited Liability Company Agreement dated March 16, 2022, which we refer to as the “LLC Agreement.” A copy of the LLC Agreement is attached as Exhibit C.
The Company is managed by the Manager. The LLC Agreement generally gives the Manager exclusive control over all aspects of the Company’s business. Other members of the Company, including Investors who purchase Class A Investor Shares in the Offering, generally have no right to participate in the management of the Company.
There is only one exception to this rule: the owners of the Class A Investor Shares may, in some situations, remove the Manager for cause.
The Company is seeking to invest in a diversified portfolio of predominantly multifamily value add real estate assets throughout the United States.
Specifically, we intend to invest primarily in multifamily value-add projects in markets that exhibit a trend of strong population and job growth and other favorable local market conditions. The value-add investment strategy entails (i) buying a project that in most instances is already stabilized and creating cash flow, (ii) implementing a capital expenditure program where we renovate both the interior units and the exterior of the property over a 18 to 36 month period, and (iii) improving the overall management of the property to decrease operating expenses and increase occupancy. We expect these renovations will allow us to charge tenants a higher rent and therefore “add value” to the asset by increasing cash flow and the property’s overall market value based on the higher net operating income.
The Company might also build or invest in new multifamily projects where it believes it can expect a significant profit.
The Company might also lend money to real estate projects to generate current yield.
COVID-19 and the Multi-Family Market
Historically, the multi-family market has been driven by favorable supply/demand fundamentals, including (i) a limited number of new units coming onto the market; (ii) the demographic often referred to as “echo boomers,” (iii) an increase in the number of immigrants; and (iv) tighter lending guidelines leading to lower rates of home ownership.
However, the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus has interrupted many of these positive fundamentals. Many of these interruptions are likely to negatively impact the multi-family market, as least in the near-term. Yet we remain optimistic about the medium-to-long term outlook of the multi-family market and believe the current market presents many exciting investment opportunities.
First, we believe that the number of new units coming onto the market will remain limited. According to the National Association of Home Builder’s (“NAHB”) Multifamily Production Index (“MPI”), production of new multifamily units has decreased significantly since the onset of COVID-19. Builders are reporting the worst building conditions for multifamily units since the fourth quarter of 2009 and NAHB’s Multifamily Market Vacancy Index (the “MVI”) is showing a significant increase in the number of vacant apartments in multifamily properties. Collectively, we believe these indicators are unlikely to improve as states continue to grapple with containing COVID-19, meaning that production of new multifamily units will remain stagnant.
Second, we believe the strong negative impacts of COVID-19 on labor markets will result in increased residential mortgage foreclosures and a larger pool of persons interested in multi-family housing. According to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, among those persons working in February of 2020, almost 40% percent of those households making less than $40,000 a year lost a job in March of 2020. Many of these jobs were likely in lower-wage industries such as retail and leisure/hospitality which reported industry unemployment rates of 17.1% and 39.3% in April of 2020, respectively.
At the same time, the rise in COVID-19 cases across the country has increased the risk that the existing mortgage forbearance rate (estimated to be 8.6% of all active mortgages as of the final week of June 2020) will increasingly transition to mortgage foreclosures by the end of 2020. Some initial estimates project that the foreclosure rate could approach 20-30% of all active mortgages, indicating that the potential pool of people seeking multifamily housing is likely to increase, at least in the short-to-medium term.
Third, this projected increase in mortgage foreclosures is leading to tighter credit markets and increased standards for banks to originate new loans. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index, the availability of mortgage credit has decreased significantly each month since the initial wave of COVID-19 cases in March 2020, and availability of mortgage credit in May 2020 was at is lowest levels since early 2014. This is due in part to major banks increasing their mortgage borrower standards by requiring larger down payments and higher credit scores to receive new mortgage loans. All of these factors would reduce the pool of persons interested and available to purchase a single-family home, and in turn, increase the demand for multi-family housing.
Finally, we believe that economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis will ultimately result in more immigration from other countries, which will also increase demand for multi-family housing. While the rapid spread of COVID-19 has led many governments, including the U.S. government, to impose travel restrictions and decrease immigration from certain countries with higher prevalence of COVID-19 infections, we believe that COVID-19’s impact on certain industries will only serve to highlight the need for more immigration. For example, as the agricultural industry has experienced shortages due to localized outbreaks associated with the pandemic, many farms have been unable to fill labor shortages due to a dramatic decrease in immigration. Likewise, immigrant labor is strong in many essential businesses and services, all of which may highlight the important role immigrants play in our country and in our economy.
The Commercial Real Estate Market
The commercial real estate market is currently experienced market challenges in many locations throughout the United States. While retail, hospitality and office assets are experiencing significant vacancies, we expect the multifamily market will not see as steep of declines and in many markets will remain relatively stable given the overall housing shortage.
The Distressed Real Estate Market
Currently, we are beginning to see signs of distressed assets in the market, which allow for the potential to purchase assets at a significant discount. We plan to monitor certain markets for opportunities to invest in distressed assets assuming we are able to negotiate a purchase price that represents a significant discount to where we think true market value is.
When the Company identifies a location or a potential property, it will typically sign a contract and place an escrow deposit to be held with the designated escrow agent. The Company will then conduct extensive due diligence, including physical site inspections, environmental studies, a review of applicable zoning and land use restrictions, title reports, a review of all leases (if any), a review of the revenues and expenses from the property, and a study of the local market and local conditions.
Based on its due diligence, the Company will determine whether to move forward with the property.
During the initial 12-36 months of owning and managing the property, the Company will analyze market conditions and decide whether the property should be maintained, refinanced, restructured (i.e., condominium conversion), or sold.
Real Estate Investment Life Cycle
The life cycle of a real estate project varies on an individual property basis, but generally all projects experience periods of development, stabilization, and decline. A major component of successful real estate investing is timing the cycle – in effect, buying low, selling high. The Company will pay close attention to the ongoing market cycles in an effort to maximize returns to investors, but given current market conditions, we believe we will be well-positioned to capitalize on the natural ebbs and flows of the real estate investment life cycle. This is because many of our properties will be bought low during the height of the COVID-19 crisis and sold high when markets return to historical norms in the years after the COVID-19 crisis has subsided.
Use Of Leverage
We expect to use leverage on most of the real estate properties we invest in, meaning we will use debt to finance a portion of the purchase price. In general, for multifamily value-add projects we will target a loan-to-cost ratio of 65% — 75%, although that ratio could be higher or lower for specific properties. In certain cases, depending on the property and its underwriting, we might also use mezzanine debt or preferred equity.
The U.S. real estate market as a whole has historically experienced heavy demand and limited supply, with many developers, investors, and other parties competing for property. However, the current pandemic has negatively impacted virtually every sector of the U.S. and global economy, including real estate. Wages for many households are down (some significantly), unemployment is approaching record levels, and banks and other lenders are preparing for an expected deluge of foreclosures.
As a result, we believe that there will be a surge in existing multi-family housing projects available for purchase for the foreseeable future. At the same time, absent massive intervention into credit markets by the Federal Reserve, the expected tightening of credit markets may decrease the amount of capital to finance such purchases.
Accordingly, we believe the real estate market will favor large institutional investors and others with significant cash on hand or access to alternative financing methods. We may be at a disadvantage to our competition who may have greater capital resources than we do, including cash-on-hand. However, we believe that these larger competitors will focus on more expensive and larger properties, as the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 has also had some impact on medium- and upper-income communities. Thus, the Company will instead look for smaller to mid-sized properties, a market that typically involves individual and smaller institutional buyers rather than large institutions. The relative inefficiency in this segment and the likely surge in available properties due to COVID-19 and its related economic impacts may create excellent investment opportunities.
Allocation Of Projects Between The Company And Other Entities
The Sponsor controls other entities focused on real estate assets in the United States, primarily multi-family properties. The scope of the Company may differ in some instances but there could nevertheless be instances where the same project fits the investment strategy of both the Company and Growth REIT I. In that case we will evaluate the project seeking to balance both portfolios.
We will try to keep the portfolios balanced in several ways:
- Geographic Balance. We will try to keep the portfolios balanced geographically. If a new project is located in North Carolina and Growth REIT I already owns three projects in North Carolina, the new project might make more sense in the Company.
- Risk Balance. Each project carries a risk/reward profile. If a new project is weighted toward a higher risk/reward profile and the Company’s portfolio is already weighted in that direction, the new project might make more sense in Growth REIT I.
- Balance in Property Rating. Multifamily projects are rated A, B, and C, in declining quality. We will try to achieve an average rating of B in both portfolios.
We might try to achieve balance in other ways as well.
If, in the end, a new project makes equal sense in either the Company or another entity controlled by the Sponsor, it is also possible that multiple portfolios will invest.
Term Of The Company
We will begin deploying the capital we raise in this Offering as soon as we identify appropriate projects. We intend to operate the Company for approximately five years from the date this Offering commences with the option of up to two additional one-year extensions at the discretion of the Manager.
To wind down the Company, the Manager will seek to generate liquidity for Investors and realize any gains in the value of our investments by selling or refinancing our properties and returning capital to Investors on an orderly basis. Sales and refinancing will be subject to prevailing market conditions and there is no guarantee that we will be successful in executing any such liquidity transactions on terms favorable to the Company and Investors, or that we will be able to do so within the time frame we have anticipated.