Time—our most precious resource—often gets overlooked in the hustle and bustle of life. In the race for wealth and success, we tend to forget that time is the true currency that we trade. Have you ever paused to consider what your time is really worth? Even if you’ve done this exercise before, the value of your time could have changed since then.
The Unspoken Value of Time
Time is arguably the most valuable asset we possess, yet it’s frequently squandered on non-essential pursuits. We find ourselves fixated on money and trivial matters, ignoring the true essence of what our time can enable us to achieve.
A Journey to Better Decision-Making
Today, I’m excited to take you through a simple yet impactful exercise. This will empower you to make wiser choices in both your life and investments. Let’s break down the process into three straightforward steps:
Step 1: Calculate Your Active Income
Begin by tallying your income from all active sources. This serves as the foundation for understanding the value you place on your time.
Step 2: Estimate Weekly Working Hours
Next, estimate the average number of hours you dedicate to work each week. This lays the groundwork for the assessment of your hourly rate.
Step 3: Calculate Your Hourly Rate
With these two figures in hand, the calculation becomes straightforward. Divide your annual income by the number of weeks in a year, and then divide the result by your average weekly working hours. The outcome is your hourly rate.
Bringing It to Life: An Example
Bob earns an annual income of $200,000. He puts in an average of 50 hours of work per week.
Following the formula: $200,000 / 52 weeks / 50 hours = $76.92 per hour.
This signifies the value he places on each hour of his time.
Applying Your Time Value to Everyday Decisions
Now, equipped with your time value, you can view life through a new lens. I’ll use Bob’s example to illustrate the following points:
Is waiting an hour in line at a restaurant worth $76?
Is cooking a two-hour dinner worth $152?
Is grabbing coffee for an hour after work worth his time?
Evolving Perspectives with Income Growth
When I was young, I embraced a do-it-yourself approach to almost everything in my life. However, as my income grew over the years, so did my time value. Certain activities that used to make sense no longer did:
Driving extra miles out of my way for minor fuel savings.
Clipping coupons for groceries.
Enduring long lines for small purchases.
Spending hours online to find the best price.
The Time Value in Investments
This notion of understanding time value heavily influenced my real estate investment strategy after years of grinding it out on my own. Initially, I was a DIY enthusiast for single-family homes. But as my time value appreciated, my perspective shifted.
For example, investing three hours of my time seemed more sensible than hiring a painter for $300 to paint a living room, when I valued my time at $50. The realization that my time was more valuable years later led me to transition into passive income investments as a Limited Partner. I then had the freedom to pursue active ventures that I enjoyed more than being a landlord and working manual labor in the oil and gas industry.
Elevating Your Life
The liberation of my time was ultimately the goal. This newfound freedom allowed me to expand my lifestyle in numerous ways. In fact, it was this decision that led me to find my wife and eventually create a family of our own. When I was working the Rat Race, I lacked the availability to build meaningful relationships.
I hope this simple concept encourages an introspective journey for you. What is the worth of your time, and how do you aspire to spend it? Embracing a life enriched with choices is truly the essence of success.
To Your Success,
Please take a couple of minutes to watch the video below.
Article Transforming the Multifamily Sector: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence
September 20, 2023
By: Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education
In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful force, revolutionizing many industries. One sector witnessing a significant transformation is the multifamily sector.
We understand the immense potential of AI in transforming the business landscape. Whether it’s optimizing day-to-day operations or shaping high-level strategic decisions, AI technology has the power to revolutionize our work processes. – Traci Wilhelm, Managing Director of Asset Management at Ashcroft Capital
Let’s explore a few ways in which AI is changing the multifamily sector:
Improved Tenant Experiences
Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way property managers interact with tenants. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide instant responses to tenant queries, schedule maintenance requests, and offer personalized recommendations. These intelligent systems not only save time and resources, but also enhance tenant satisfaction by providing prompt and efficient services.
Below is the website for one of our Ashcroft Capital properties, “Halston Shiloh Valley”. Notice the Chatbot to the right of the screen.
AI-driven tenant screening processes are being implemented to identify the most qualified candidates for rental properties. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to assess creditworthiness, employment history, and rental backgrounds, enabling property managers to make informed decisions quickly and accurately.
AI-powered systems are streamlining various operational aspects of multifamily properties. For instance, predictive maintenance algorithms leverage historical data and sensor inputs to anticipate maintenance needs. This proactive approach minimizes downtime, reduces costs associated with emergency repairs, and extends the lifespan of equipment.
In addition, AI-enabled energy management systems can optimize energy consumption within a multifamily property. These systems analyze real-time data from smart meters, weather forecasts, and occupancy patterns to adjust heating, cooling, and lighting settings automatically. By identifying inefficiencies and implementing energy-saving measures, property owners can significantly reduce utility costs and environmental impact.
Smart thermostats at “LIV at Winter Park” (Ashcroft Capital Property)
Additionally, at Ashcroft Capital, we are testing an AI collection program, which has not yet been launched portfolio-wide. The goal is to have more consistent follow-up and free up our on-site team to take care of other tasks.
Smart Security Solutions
AI is also revolutionizing security measures in the multifamily sector. Intelligent surveillance systems equipped with facial recognition and anomaly detection capabilities enhance the safety of residents and property. These systems can identify suspicious activities, alert security personnel, and provide real-time updates on potential security threats.
Furthermore, access control systems powered by AI offer advanced features such as biometric identification and virtual keys. These technologies not only enhance security, but also provide convenience to tenants, eliminating the need for physical keys or access cards.
Data-Driven Decision Making
The multifamily sector generates a vast amount of data. Using AI software that taps into the information stored in property management software enables property managers to leverage the data and make better-informed decisions. AI algorithms can analyze market trends, rental demand, and pricing data to optimize rental rates and maximize property revenue. Predictive analytics tools can forecast occupancy rates, identify leasing patterns, and enable property managers to adjust their strategies accordingly.
Moreover, AI-driven data analytics platforms help property managers gain insights into tenant preferences, allowing them to personalize amenities, services, and marketing campaigns. This targeted approach enhances tenant satisfaction, increases retention rates, and attracts new tenants.
We currently use “AIRM” revenue software at Ashcroft Capital
As of 2023 AI is still a new technology, much like the internet in the 1990s. As AI continues to evolve, its impact on the multifamily sector is only expected to grow, making it an essential tool for success in the increasingly competitive real estate market.
As a company, we are leveraging cutting-edge AI technology for operational and analytical purposes and will continue to access and adopt advanced technology for optimal performance. – Traci Wilhelm, Managing Director of Asset Management at Ashcroft Capital
The U.S. has a housing shortage of 3.8 million homes per recent data from Freddie Mac. The shortage of supply has caused home values to hold steady, or in some cases increase, even in the midst of a rising interest rate environment. This combination makes homeownership out of reach for many Americans. These continued elevated housing prices have impacted the demand, and in many cases, the need to rent, suggesting it may be a good time to consider investing in the multifamily housing market.
If you invest or are looking to invest in multifamily real estate, you can leverage opportunities in this market in many ways. As you consider investing, it’s essential to understand the options available. Are you looking to be an independent investor and actively manage properties, or are you looking to earn passive income with a real estate syndicator?
“According to a recent survey measured by the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), consumer sentiment toward home purchasing continues to decline, with only 16 percent of respondents believing it is a suitable time to buy a home,” says Danielle Jackson Investor Relations, Senior Manager at Ashcroft Capital.
Read on to gain more insight into the benefits of investing in multifamily real estate, the differences between managing an investment asset and participating in a real estate syndication, and the best practices for property managers, property management, and renovation management.
Roles of Property Managers
Experienced and knowledgeable property managers are essential to the successful execution of a multifamily investment property. A property manager is responsible for the routine management and oversight of all units, including daily repairs, regular maintenance, and the property’s safety and security.
Property managers can either be employees of the property owner or work for a third-party company that the property owner contracts. Along with managing the property’s daily operations, a property manager plays an integral role in maintaining the property’s value and running a profitable community by ensuring strong occupancy and collections.
Types of Real Estate Managers
A property manager isn’t a one-size-fits-all role. Different types of real estate managers are responsible for different tasks. Below are some of the most common types of real estate managers:
– Multifamily property managers: Oversee daily operations for apartment or condominium high-rise developments.
– Commercial property managers: Oversee daily operations for retail, office space, and industrial properties.
– Single-family home property managers: Oversee the management for single-family homes, working with the property’s owners or landlords. This type of property manager often works with multiple landlords.
– Short-term rental or vacation property manager: Oversee short-term rental or vacation properties, including handling reservations, maintaining furnishings and supplies, cleaning, and repairs.
Property Manager Responsibilities
A property manager’s responsibilities can largely vary based on the property’s business plan, needs, and the job responsibilities set by the property owner. Common duties of a property manager include:
– Managing the property’s finances, such as collecting rent and resident deposits, tracking income and expenses, and collecting materials for taxes
– Marketing the property
– Resident communications
– Serving as the face of the property
– Vetting tenants, including running credit checks, background checks, and any additional requirements as set by the property owner, and processing evictions
– Managing lease and rental agreements and ensuring lease compliance
– Overseeing maintenance and housekeeping of the property’s common areas, such as fitness facilities, the lobby, and outdoor spaces, weather-related maintenance, such as landscaping and snow removal, and overseeing third-party repair vendors, such as plumbers, electricians, or contractors
RE Syndicator vs. Independent Investing and Property Management
Multifamily investors that participate through a real estate syndicator, like Ashcroft, can benefit from the our established financial, construction, and maintenance processes. If you are considering independently investing and managing your asset, there are many factors to consider:
– Property underwriting and evaluating the property
– Establishing relationships and knowing how to successfully source contractors
– Managing rising repair costs and ongoing supply chain issues
Management of the Budget
Despite inflation and supply chain shortages, at Ashcroft Capital we pride ourselves on maintaining our value-add strategies.
“In terms of cost and expenses with regard to inflation, we are doing our best to keep the cost of our construction projects steady. Our underwriting conservatively assumes these costs, which gives us room for these costs to grow over time, but still be within our budget. The same holds true for our expenses,” says Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education. “[We’re] as proactive as possible to keep the costs and impacts as low as possible so that we can continue to deliver competitive returns for our investors.”
Managing NOI, Rental Rates, and Occupancy Rates
As an investor, understanding a property’s net operating income (NOI) growth is essential, as it determines the profitability of the property. Knowledgeable property management, vertical integration, and implementation of strategic technology lend to a property’s NOI growth, competitive rental rates, effective collection practices, and high occupancy rates.
Maintaining Quality Employees
When investing in multifamily real estate, quality employees are essential for the property’s success and, therefore, the investment. The wrong property management team can be detrimental to the profitability of the property. Signs that the wrong property management is in place include:
– Minimal marketing initiatives
– High level of vacancies
– Issues collecting rent
– Communication issues with residents
– Poorly maintained facilities
Incorporating new technology in property management operations can help maximize NOI, allowing property managers to focus more on invaluable face-to-face interaction. At Ashcroft, we’ve implemented new technology, including:
– AI lead follow-up technology to automatically follow up with leads
– Fraudulent application detection software
– Purchase order program
– Online reputation audit to showcase our properties in the best light online
When independently investing in real estate, the renovations will be your responsibility. So, the question becomes, how hands-on do you want to be with your investment? Completing the labor yourself is an intensive process requiring time, skill, and focus.
When outsourcing construction on a multifamily property, there can be significant issues that impact your cash flow and time investment. These factors include:
– Supply chain disruptions
– Increasing material costs
– Lack of skilled labor
Suppose you want to pursue investing in multifamily real estate through a real estate syndicator, like Ashcroft. In that case, it is essential to be sure the investment firm has a well-defined business plan and capital improvement strategy that improves curb appeal, enhances property value, and increases overall ROI. Factors to investigate include:
– Going into depth with too-good-to-be-true promises
– Successful track record in executing the capital improvement strategy with extensive knowledge of the projected repair costs
– Resident engagement strategy, because unhappy tenants can will ultimately impact the ROI
Vertical integration is one of the most important factors in delivering NOI growth and high occupancy rates. Ashcroft is a vertically integrated multifamily operator, which means we have an in-house team for each facet of our business plan. A vertically integrated team may include property management, construction teams, design teams, and supply depots. All these elements help with transparency, controlling costs, and expediting repairs and improvements.
“One of the critical elements for maintaining and driving consistent NOI growth, high occupancy rates, and overall tenant satisfaction is being a vertically integrated multifamily operator,” says Ryan Wynkoop, Investor Relations Manager at Ashcroft Capital. “Ashcroft has an in-house robust, comprehensive property management and construction management team.”
In-house Property Management and Construction
Ashcroft’s in-house vertical integration strategy includes our own property management and construction teams. Our property management teams oversee the marketing, leasing, learning and development, special projects, and maintenance. We also have in-house interior design, renovation, and construction teams. As a result, we can control the quality, costs, and speed of our property initiatives.
– Improving the leasing center and amenities such as the fitness center, pool area, and other shared spaces
– Repainting the property
– Cleaning and updating the landscaping
– Installing energy efficient appliances
“[Our team] have been highly motivated to drive down costs on our portfolio and guarantee our projects run smoothly so that we don’t experience any issues with shortages,” says Watts. “Buying in bulk has helped us to take advantage of economies of scale, which allows us to reduce costs. And because we purchase such large quantities at once, this also keeps costs down and hedges against inflation. When we purchase our supplies, we buy directly from the manufacturers. The supplies are then stored in a warehouse that we control, and we organize the supplies into ‘kits.’ These kits are fitted with our value-add design in mind.”
Purchase Order Program
Investors considering investing in multifamily real estate with Ashcroft benefit from our unique offerings, such as our purchase order program. This program helps to manage, automate and control property expenses, helping to prevent any unnecessary maintenance expenditures.
“We’ve rolled out a purchase order program. [The new] technology is great because our maintenance teams will have a catalog to order from. We’ll know exactly what they’re paying for every part because that’s the only way they can buy them. All of our vendors that agree to be in this catalog agree to the pricing. It’s a great way to control those expenses,” says Wilhelm. “This program ensures that all maintenance expenses stay within the budget, reducing any unnecessary spending. All of these programs are intended to try to tighten that expense growth as much as they can, fighting the inflation that everyone is seeing.”
Ashcroft Practices and Results
We have a strong reputation in the real estate investment industry, with more than 3,000 investors, of which 65% are repeat investors. This level of trust and loyalty reflects our performance and commitment to delivering value to our investors. We manage 37 communities across Texas, Florida, and Georgia, and our performance is demonstrated through our 32% Net Operating Income (NOI) growth, 25.7% Annual Cash on Cash Return, and 22.7% Limited Partner (LP) Internal Rate of Return.
Ashcroft investors may benefit from the expertise, diversification, and value-add strategy that Ashcroft Capital provides, leading to stronger returns and a more resilient investment portfolio.
1 Jackson, Danielle. “Focusing on Amenities and Management to Increase Multifamily Value.” Ashcroft Capital. March 7, 2023. https://ashcroftcapital.com/focusing-on-amenities-and-management-to-increase-multifamily-value/
2 Brown, Jefreda. Courage, Ariel. “Property Management: Definition, Roles, Types, and Duties.” Investopedia.com. April 12, 2023. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/property-management.asp
3 Beck, Rae Hartley. “What does a property manager do?” Bankrate. October 20, 2022.https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/property-manager/#how-to-hire
4 Many U.S. Construction Contractors are Turning Down Work Because They Don’t Have Enough Workers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2021. The Top 10 Risk Factors In Flipping Houses (And What To Do About Them), Forbes, 2018
5 Watts, Travis.” How We Maintain Our Value-Add Strategy Despite Inflation And Supply Chain Shortages.” Ashcroft Capital. December 22, 2022.
6 Construction Project delays up to 100% due to Covid, nPlan 2022. 2022 Construction Industry Forecast, Wells Fargo, 2022. 2022 U.S. Construction Costs Trends, Many U.S. Construction Contractors are Turning Down Work Because They Don’t Have Enough Workers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2021.
7 ‘A complete nightmare’: Luxury Jersey City building beset by flooding, inoperable elevators, tenants say, New York Post, 2022. . Indiana Real Estate Developer and Property Manager Admits Ponzi Scheme to Defraud Investors of Millions of Dollars, Department of Justice, 2022. Wolf of Main Street, Bloomberg, 2022.
8 Wynkoop, Ryan. “The Importance of Vertical Integration” Ashcroft Capital. March 21, 2023. https://ashcroftcapital.com/the-importance-of-vertical-integration/
9 Polaski, Evan. “Conversations | Q4 2022 Review and Q1 2023 Outlook With Traci Wilhelm.” Ashcroft Capital. March 17, 2023. https://ashcroftcapital.com/conversations-q4-2022-review-and-q1-2023-outlook-with-traci-wilhelm/
Article A Comprehensive Guide to Deal Research in Multifamily Real Estate Investing
September 7, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
Real estate investing can offer lucrative opportunities to those willing to take risks, but careful research is necessary for repeated success. So how do real estate investment firms conduct their due diligence? Real estate investors (“REIs”) often overlook certain aspects of deal research, the evaluation process for choosing deals, and strategies to handle situations when a suitable deal cannot be found.
When conducting deal research, REIs consider various factors contributing to a potential investment’s profitability and success including cash flow, leverage, equity, appreciation, and risk.
Cash flow is a vital consideration for REIs, as it refers to the income generated by a property after deducting expenses. Positive cash flow can promote steady income and the potential for reinvestment or passive income streams.
Leverage is another significant component of deal research. REIs analyze the potential to borrow funds or use alternative sources of capital to finance the investment. By leveraging their capital with debt, investors can maximize their returns and increase profitability.
Equity refers to the ownership value that an investor has in a property. As the property appreciates over time, investors’ equity grows, providing them with potential opportunities for refinancing or selling at a higher price.
Appreciation is a key factor in long-term wealth creation. REIs carefully assess market trends, location advantages, and potential growth factors that can drive property value appreciation. This appreciation can result in significant returns when the property is sold.
Risk assessment plays a crucial role in deal research. REIs evaluate the potential risks associated with a property, such as market volatility, tenant turnover, or potential repairs and maintenance costs. Understanding the inherent risks and balancing those against potential returns allows REIs to make informed investment decisions.
By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, REIs can identify and evaluate investment opportunities that align with their investment goals and risk tolerance, leading to successful real estate investments.
Proper deal research requires a thorough analysis of multiple factors to determine the viability and profitability of each multifamily investment opportunity. Ashcroft Capital conducts deal research involving these key steps:
Before pursuing a specific deal, it is crucial to conduct comprehensive market research. This research involves evaluating a particular market’s economic strength and growth potential, studying demographic trends, and analyzing supply and demand dynamics. Understanding market conditions helps deal sponsors identify promising locations for potential investments.
Assessing Potential Repairs
Evaluating the condition of a property and estimating the cost of repairs is essential in forecasting a deal’s potential profitability. This includes, but is not limited to, conducting property inspections, obtaining contractor estimates, and considering the potential return on investment for necessary
repairs or renovations.
Calculating Long-Term Expenses
In addition to immediate repairs, it is important to calculate long-term property ownership expenses, including project maintenance costs, property management fees, insurance, and property taxes. Accurately gauging these expenses creates a comprehensive understanding of the property’s cash flow potential.
Determining Net Operating Income (NOI)
NOI is a key metric in real estate investing, representing the property’s revenue minus operating expenses. It is one the most frequently used metrics as calculating NOI is crucial for assessing an investment’s profitability and potential returns.
Calculating Cap Rates
Cap rates, short for capitalization rates, measure a property’s potential return on investment. The cap rate is calculated by dividing the property’s NOI by the purchase price. Comparing cap rates across different properties and markets helps sponsors make informed decisions.
To better understand the competitiveness of a potential deal, sponsors research comparable properties in the surrounding area. Analyzing recent sales data, rental rates, and market trends enables investors to determine the viability of the deal and its potential for growth and appreciation.
Purchase Price Negotiations
Once a suitable property is identified, negotiating the purchase price is vital to the deal-making process. Conducting thorough research on comparable properties, property conditions, and projected returns allows sponsors to operate from a strong negotiating position.
Determining Investment Goals
At the outset of their deal research, sponsors establish clear investment goals by defining the minimum desired return on investment, risk tolerance, preferred investment strategy (such as cash flow, appreciation, or both), and ideal time horizon. These goals serve as guideposts in the deal evaluation process.
Part of the deal research process involves identifying and securing suitable financing options for the investment. These options could include traditional bank loans, private lending, or partnerships with other investors. Proper financial planning and analysis are required to ensure the investment is financially viable.
Conducting Due Diligence
Once a deal is chosen, conducting due diligence is imperative to fully understand the property’s legal, financial, and operational elements. This process often involves a comprehensive evaluation of property documentation, including leases, financial statements, environmental reports, and any relevant permits or licenses. Also, sponsors must check for risks, violations, potential lawsuits, and unpaid penalties to assess a property’s potential.
Researching renter demographics can be invaluable towards understanding the target market for potential properties. Analyzing population growth, migration patterns, income levels, employment opportunities, and lifestyle preferences helps sponsors to identify properties that align with the target demographic.
Becoming a seasoned real estate investor is a long and careful process, but conducting effective deal research to find the right property doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Ashcroft Capital’s Deal Research Strategy
Ashcroft Capital employs a meticulous deal research strategy that has produced exceptional risk-adjusted returns to their investors. The investment strategy centers around identifying properties with “good bones” and the potential for substantial improvement. This includes evaluating the strength of the location, risk tolerance, and return potential opportunities within a specific market.
Ashcroft Capital seeks Core+ properties in strong submarkets with moderate risks and the potential for value-add opportunities. These properties typically have high occupancy rates and steady cash flows but may benefit from strategic improvements or management. These are often infill property locations that are usually around 20-25 years old.
Ashcroft Capital’s rigorous due diligence process is comprised of more than 100 steps to exhaustively evaluate potential multifamily deals. This inspection includes third-party reports and property inspections and a full review of all titles and zoning, a 38-point on-site evaluation and inspection (including a walk-through of each unit, review of maintenance logs, and staff interviews), a 24-point financial analysis including on-site lease audits, review of all financial statements, occupancy histories, and cash flow audits. This highly detailed approach ensures that each property fits within their investment criteria and exhibits the characteristics for substantial returns.
They also consider existing relationships with buyer(s) when evaluating potential deals. A strong network and established relationships in the industry can provide valuable insights and opportunities for advantageous transactions.
Ashcroft Capital actively researches various markets, focusing on emerging locations that offer attractive investment opportunities. While specific markets may evolve over time, they prioritize areas demonstrating economic growth, diverse employment sectors, and favorable demographic trends.
Ashcroft Capital Value-Add Funds
Ashcroft Capital has identified two exceptional investment opportunities, Halston Lakeside and Elliott Cocoplum, as the second and third assets in the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) portfolio. These properties offer a unique combination of regional and economic benefits, making them attractive for investors seeking to capitalize on high-growth markets, quality construction, and a robust business plan.
By investing in the current fund, investors can capitalize on the strong market fundamentals, attractive location benefits, and significant value-add potential of these properties while enjoying the stability and security of a well-structured investment managed by an experienced real estate investment firm.
Real estate funds like our current fund differ from syndications by investing in multiple properties rather than a single deal. The fund is structured so that investments are allocated across multiple properties thereby mitigating concentration risks and creating diversified sources of return.
Our current fund is an open private placement fund for accredited investors interested in diversifying their portfolios into multifamily real estate. The fund will own multifamily properties with an anticipated fund life of 5-7 years.
This current fund offers limited partners Class A and Class B share types, with a minimum investment of $25,000. An investment in Class A shares earns 9% annual fixed distributions but does not participate in the upside of dispositions. Class B shares earn a 7% preferred return and participate in the profitability of property sales.
Article Healthy Wealth – 3 Tips For Your Wellbeing
September 5, 2023
By: Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education
If we don’t have our health, what use is our wealth?
I want to share with you three different health hacks or tips that you can apply in your life that may have a positive impact for you.
Please always consult with your doctor before making health changes.
1 – Intermittent Fasting
What this refers to is having your last meal of the day between 5:00 and 7:00 PM depending on when you go to sleep, and then not having any food in your system until lunch the next day. What this does is allow your body to rest, repair itself, and cuts down on the amount of calories that you consume.
2 – Drink Celery Juice
You will need a juicer to properly make celery juice, not a blender. It is suggested to drink a minimum of 16 ounces, 30 minutes before eating. If you are going to have breakfast, this is 30 minutes before breakfast. If you’re doing intermittent fasting, this would be 30 minutes before lunch. Drinking celery juice can help with inflammation, bloating, skin, and energy.
Keep it simple. Do pushups, situps, dumbbells, and occasional cardio. In the mornings and evenings you can go for a jog, a quick run, or a sprint depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re not in an area with walking trails or accessibility, you don’t have a home gym or a treadmill or a stationary bike, you could consider things like burpees, jumping jacks, or running in place.
Your greatest wealth is your health. Watch the full episode below for further details on these health tips.
Hi, I’m Evan Polaski, managing director of investor relations with Ashcroft Capital. Today, I’m back with Scott Lebenhart, our chief investment officer. Scott, why don’t you give us a quick intro of yourselves for our new viewers?
Great. Hey, Evan. Scott Lebenhart. I’m the chief investment officer here at Ashcroft. I’ve been working at Ashcroft since 2018. Prior to that, I was at a private equity company called DRA Advisors for over 11 years. And here at Ashcroft, I’ve bought over 14,000 units and over $2 billion worth of assets. And, as Evan knows, and the return viewers know, Evan and I like to get together on a quarterly basis and talk through what we’re seeing in the market.
Yeah, I appreciate that. And let’s jump right in. So looking back to Q2, how has the market continued to evolve since it hit the brakes toward the end of 2022?
Yeah. I mean, In my opinion, and based on what I’ve been seeing, Q2 was fairly similar to Q1. It’s been really slow, especially on the transaction front. Continued uncertainty around the Fed and what they’re going to do with interest rates has really halted everything right now. It’s really halted lenders, the buyers willing to execute, and sellers do not necessarily know what market pricing is. In Q2, the CPI measurements, unemployment numbers, employment indicators, and other economic indicators sent a lot of mixed signals. And so people couldn’t guess and say, “Hey, what’s the Fed going to do next? When are they going to start to pause their increases? When are they going to stabilize? When are they going to start to come down?”
And with interest rates remaining high and no real insight as to when those rates are going to start to come down, it’s just continued to be a stalemate through the second quarter. There were a minimal number of deals that went under contract or were awarded, we did see a handful of those actually fall out of contract and come back to market, or the seller decided to hold, just given all the volatility on the capital market side. So it was good to see some deals at the end of Q1 get under contract and get awarded. But in this market, we continue to track those deals, and unfortunately some of them did not go through. So Q2 was a lot of the same at the beginning of the year, and just not a lot.
Yeah. And we’re seeing that obviously in our transaction volume. But speaking specifically to Ashcroft, how many deals did we see come across our desk that we ultimately underwrote? And then, of those, how many LOIs did we submit?
Yeah, I mean, so I looked back at our numbers. We looked at about 125 deals that came across our desk, but in terms of what we actually underwrote, that number was closer to 60 deals. So 50% or so of the deals that we came across us, we actually spent time putting pen to paper on. Two reasons for that percentage, where it’s typically much higher.We’re being highly selective. If it’s not in the market or the submarket that we want to be in, or if it’s not the quality of the asset that we’re looking for right now, no need to spend our time on it.
And then, secondly, is if the price on the property is unreasonable, and we know that the seller really has no driving motivation to sell, we’re interested in spending time on deals that the seller is more likely to transact than not. So you get a pie in the sky price on some deals, and you just push it aside and say, “Hey, I’ll wait until the seller gets a little more realistic to look at it.”
Yeah, a deal that’s worth buying. But we just know, from all of our experience that their whisper price or official asking price is just too far off to even waste time plugging numbers into a spreadsheet.
And then did we actually submit any LOIs for those 60 that we were underwriting?
Yeah. So we submitted LOIs on around 12 deals over the past quarter, and a lot of those deals were more on the off-market transactions. We spent a lot of time trying to drum up deals off-market in nature, but some of those LOIs we spent more discovery on, “Hey, seller, here’s our price.” Then, getting the feedback, and sellers saying, “Oh no, I’m looking for 20% higher than that,” or something on it. But we still wanted to show that we are active, and we are looking for deals. We did get two fantastic deals under contract through the relationships that we have in the market, but it’s been really tough to mitigate that bid–ask spread that’s out there right now.
Yeah. And just as a reminder, for one of those deals that you just mentioned, by the time this actually comes out and our viewers are watching this, we’ll likely have closed it. So one closed in August, and then the others are coming toward the tail end of August as well. So I appreciate that. It sounds like what you said—more of the same as it is felt broadly in the economy as well. But now, as we’re fast forwarding to the next three months, six months, probably even to Q1 of ‘24, where do you see that market heading since we’ve been flat? Is it continuing to tighten? Is it going to start loosening? What are your thoughts?
So I am starting to be a little more optimistic, and part of that is based on the debt market. I’m starting to see signs of us beginning to come out of this period of the cycle where virtually nothing gets done. We’re seeing lenders starting to become more aggressive, and we’re also seeing more money pursuing making loans. With interest rates so high, we’re seeing groups looking to issue debt, as opposed to invest in equity into deals, based on where the treasuries and interest rates are right now, some of these mega-billion dollar funds are saying, “Hey, I could get my risk-adjusted return by issuing debt at 7 or 8% as opposed to actually owning the real estate of the deal.
And so we’ve been seeing a large amount of groups create funds targeting debt and creating preferred equity positions as part of it. And I view this as a good part of the cycle, as money starts to funnel back into the space. And as we see more lenders come into the market and create this liquidity, I believe we’re going to start to see spreads coming down. Competition is always good for the market. In our capitalist society, people want to win deals, and they start to be willing to pay more, or in a lender’s case, reduce their spread on it. And I do believe that this will help to narrow some of that gap that we were talking about in Q1 and Q2 between the bid–ask spread between buyers and sellers.
So don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s going to be a flip of a switch and happen overnight, but this is the first sign where we’re out looking for refinances, new acquisition financing, and we’re seeing a lot more lenders come to the table. And a handful of them are willing to be a lot more aggressive in order to get the deal done. So we’re starting to see a break, which I’m excited about.
Yeah, and as we’ve discussed in the past, the lenders have to price-in their own risk. I won’t say inflating, but they’re adjusting their rates to account for their own risk, and then we would have to do the same on our risk. That’s where the big bid–ask spread is coming because we’re hitting it on both sides.
So a big chunk of that is thelender starts to narrow their risk or their thoughts on risk, and there’s more demand out there. Then clearly that starts to ease up one side of the equation on the pricing that we’re ultimately looking at. We’re hopefully starting to see a slight relaxation in the market coming down the road, how’s your team evolving? I know we focus a lot on specific assets, a lot of outreach. Does that remain the same? Is it continuing to shift?
Yeah, it continues to modify slightly based on what we’re seeing in the market. As I mentioned about Q2, the majority of deals that we spent the most time on were the off-market deals. We’ve now transitioned to where we monitor the market deals. It’s a good indication if those deals do actually trade, where people are willing to pay, and buyers are willing to sell. It’s something we are always going to pay attention to. If the right deal comes along and we have the right relationship with the seller, and it’s in the right market, absolutely, we will pursue those. But we view most of the opportunities right now through an off-market approach. We’re doing a tremendous amount of research on potential opportunities. We’re trying to find the right deals, meaning we’re looking at very specific submarkets, specific vintages, specific demand drivers, specific average household incomes, and we’re really taking a targeted approach.
Not to give away our secret sauce, but we are conducting targeted research on deals that we believe sellers would be willing to transact on; if they bought them five years ago, pre-pandemic, we believe, based on our research, that they have debt coming due within the next year or two—or perhaps even shorter term—or it’s invested in a fund that’s likely going to be into its liquidation mode shortly. So we’re doing a good amount of research behind the assets themselves. We’re finding the assets first; then we’re finding reasons why someone may be looking to sell in the near term. And that’s how we’re really targeting our deals. And given that, we all know, and I speak about this all the time, how real estate is a relationship business; we’re really utilizing our relationships with that in order to gain knowledge about properties that may be coming to market soon or are willing to sell soon and working to drum up deals that way. So we are heavily researching and trying to find a diamond in the rough right now.
OK, yeah. And that sounds like it might be the only way. Because as you noted, you saw 125 deals come across your desk. I know some of those are on-market, and some of those are off-market. I’m sure, back in ‘21 (and I know I didn’t ask you to pull these numbers), you probably saw that in a month of just on-market deals.
It could have been a week or something.
Some weeks were crazy.
Yeah, so you’ve got to find them somehow. But the big topic that I’ve been hearing lately in my conversations, in my team’s conversations, is what’s happening with this mortgage doom coming, as all these short-term loans that were taken out in ‘20 and ‘21 start to come due. Do you foresee a lot of distressed deals coming down the pipe in the near future?
So, I’ll admit, earlier in the year, and you probably have me on record saying it, so I’ll admit it, I was not expecting much distress to hit the market, as much as everyone was expecting, because I believe, when we’re doing this conversation that we’d be talking about interest rates starting to come down at that point and help to alleviate some of the pressures on certain deals with debt maturities, or rate cap issues, or just a light at the end of the tunnel for some of these. That has not happened. And so I will be the first to admit that I do believe that I was wrong and that there is more distress coming than I originally thought. That being said, I do not expect a flood of distress to hit the market all at once. I think these are deals that are going to trickle out over time. And I believe they’re also going to be extremely relationship driven in terms of who gets what deal.
I think lenders as a whole are not interested in taking deals back, being owners of deals, and therefore having to sell them. I think, even based on our direct conversations with certain lenders, they’re going to be willing to work with good borrowers; by “good borrowers,” I mean those working to execute a business plan. Perhaps they’re unable to buy an interest rate cap required because of liquidity issues or something like that, where the asset itself is doing fine, but because of the capital markets, there’s some level of distress with it.
If lenders do ultimately take deals back and foreclose on a deal or force a sale, at that point, the lender’s going to be driving that sale and selecting the buyer on it. I think they’re going to be . . . . Because we saw this back in 2009, 2010, as lenders were trying to get rid of some of their loans that they had on their books, they would sell to groups that they worked with—groups that are institutional in nature and have strong balance sheets that they have a high certainty to close. They’re not looking to lend this to the highest bidder out there. They’re looking for someone who’s going to ultimately transact on it and perhaps even structure a deal where that lender will stay in the deal with the new borrower and try to find a way to recoup some of their losses if there were any.
And we’ve also discussed the amount of money moving onto the debt side. There’s a lot of preferred lenders out there looking to help bridge the gap on some of these deals. There are groups raising money purely for rescue capital on these deals. And so there will be deals that are distressed and do get forced to market and that lenders do foreclose on. But again, I think we’ve already seen it in the market with some of these larger institutions that are well capitalized. So they’ve gone ahead and said, “Hey, my floating rates are extraordinary right now. I got millions of dollars of rate cap purchases.” We’ve seen them go and refinance with the agencies. They would go and take 20, 30, $50 million on a portfolio and pay down the debt in equity in order to just readjust their capital stack to market conditions. So again, there’s going to be the outliers where there is distress coming to the market. But as a whole, I’m really not seeing the flood.
But what we’re doing is we’re not waiting around for the deals to be distressed to hit the market and come to the market. Through our research, like we just discussed, we’re targeting deals that may perhaps be in a distressed situation, as opposed to ultimately being a distressed deal. And what we’re doing is having conversations with those owners and trying to come up with a creative solution for them, where maybe we step in and buy part of the deal, fresh equity into the deal, take over the management, take over the control of the deal, and leave that owner in for some type of upside if we’re able to wait this out. But everyone’s in the sense right now where fundamentals in multifamily are still relatively strong. The distress is caused by the capital markets and the majority of situations, not at the performance of the properties. And so an owner’s first instinct is going to be find a way to kick the can down the road. And I tend to think that that’s going to be more predominantly in the market than a tremendous number of distressed deals.
Yeah. No, and I think that aligns with things that I’ve seen personally. As you said, there’s rescue capital; there’s a lot of capital waiting in the wings; and, even thinking back to my experience in 2009, it’s what deals got reworked? Were they the ones where there was actually an opportunity to see a light at the end of the tunnel, versus a bad operator with the bad deal, where it’s just like, “We just need to take this and get it off our books as fast as possible”? So with that, I personally align with you, but I appreciate those insights.
And I’d also say, thankfully or hopefully everyone listening is in the multifamily space or industrial space. But from our conversations with the lenders, their main concern are the office assets right now. Those are the ones where, unfortunately, they are going to have to take back, where there will be foreclosures on lender-controlled deals. They do not want to take multifamily assets back right now. They view them as cash-flowing assets that perform well and that are distressed because of the capital market. So every time we bring up multifamily to an investor as a potential issue, they say, “We’re not worried about multifamily right now. We’re focused on our office loans.”
Yeah, yeah. Everybody needs a place to live, so the core level of the business plan is pretty well insulated in that regard. Well I really appreciate all your time, Scott. As always, it’s great to hear your insights this quarter, and we certainly look forward to doing this again next quarter.
Hopefully, we’ll be talking about more deals next time.
As long as they’re the right deals, yes.
I appreciate all you do for us and appreciate your time. Thanks so much.
Article Current Multifamily Real Estate Myths Du Jour
August 29, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
There is no shortage in 2023 of would-be financial experts offering advice on where you should and shouldn’t invest your capital. Countless unlicensed message-board “advisors” and people with “inside connection” spread misinformation that permeates investor communities. If unchecked, perception morphs into reality, and incomplete (or biased) information becomes hard to distinguish from the truth. We commonly refer to such widely held but false ideas as myths.
In my role at Ashcroft Capital, it is my job and pleasure to speak with and educate investors every day. Although most people don’t believe everything they read, I have heard several doozies in 2023 that left me scratching my head. An investor often cannot even remember when or where they heard these myths or if there is any validity to them, but they concern them all the same. Rather than rehashing common misconceptions about real estate investment, I want to focus on three larger concerns I have heard during my more recent conversations.
1. “Real estate cannot make money in a rising rate environment.”
Coming out of a historically low-interest rate environment, especially at the pace at which the US Federal Reserve has hiked rates over the past 18 months , real estate investors are not in a comfortable position. Rising interest rates result in lower property prices, elevated borrowing costs, and a generally more restrictive market. But before you think there is no money to be made in real estate, there are two things you should consider: First, the borrowing rates that allowed for such a free-moving market in the post-pandemic were a statistical anomaly and not the norm. “30 Year Mortgage Rates in the United States averaged 7.74%from 1971 until 2023, reaching an all time high of 18.63% in October of 1981 and a record low of 2.65% in January of 2021.” 
With current mortgage rates at 7.77% , we are on par with the average rate over the past 52 years. Over the past five decades, countless trillions of dollars of wealth have been created through investments in real estate. Second, change has remained the only constant over the history of real estate investing (or any other industry). Real estate moves in cycles, and every market provides opportunities for the most prepared and savvy investors to reap the rewards.
2. “The recent construction boom has caused an oversupply of multifamily housing.”
Although it is true that in some markets the housing supply has reached or even exceeded current demand, this blanket statement couldn’t be further from the truth. In June 2023 Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, stated, “Housing’s performance is a testimony to the strength of demographic-related demand in the face of baby boomers aging in place and Gen-Xers locking in historically low rates, both of which have helped keep housing supply at historically low levels . . . Homebuilders continue to add to that supply, but years of meager homebuilding over the past business cycle means the imbalance will likely continue for some time.” 
The data points vary by source, but the shortage is believed to be somewhere between three and seven million homes. As Nadia Evangelou, NAR senior economist and director of real estate research, recently explained, “Middle-income buyers face the largest shortage of homes among all income groups, making it even harder for them to build wealth through homeownership.”  To further dispel the oversupply myth, data shows that rental occupancy has hovered between 94% and 95% since the first quarter of 2020, despite the fact that multifamily construction reached a 50-year high nationwide in 2022. [6, 7] However, to make money in this environment, you must choose your markets carefully. The markets with the highest development, job growth, and migration should also have the highest absorption rate.
3. “Rents cannot continue to grow, forcing you to rely on appreciation that isn’t coming.”
At various times in our economic history, real estate appreciation has seemed to be more of a certainty than an area of concern. When cap rates are low and loan-to-value rates are high, you hear about everyone making money, and it almost seems too easy. I disagree. Markets often move irrationally, and a good investment idea can become old news in an instant in this information age. Rental rates have grown substantially since 2020, largely fueled by a spike in inflation, a growing US population, and an overall housing shortage. However, these growth rates were never sustainable, and time-tested market economics eventually balance the scales.
According to Zillow’s rental report for July 2023, rent increases have slowed down overall, but growth is still slightly higher than pre-pandemic rates (8). The chart below from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows how rental rates have outpaced CPI inflation data over the past 40 years. Although the gap between inflation and rent growth has definitely narrowed in 2023, the data points showing long-term consistent growth are promising. Will appreciation in real estate be more challenging in the near term? Most likely, yes. But to say it will go away entirely is more fiction than prediction.
Honorable mention: “I know property values have gone down, but I am going to wait for the bottom.”
Although this isn’t necessarily a myth about real estate investing, it is a misconception about investing in general. Timing any market is nearly impossible, and those who are able to usually do so once or twice in their lifetimes. In a widely referenced USA Today article from 2018, Ken Fisher stated, “Time in the market beats timing the market.”  Hundreds of studies have proven that the greatest determining factor in wealth creation is investing consistently over long periods of time. The truth is that you will likely never sell at the top or buy at the bottom, but if you are patient and persistent, you can generate excellent long-term returns. Don’t let the goal of perfect timing deter you from excellent timing.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. A rising rate environment creates new challenges, but it does not eliminate opportunities. Ashcroft Capital’s acquisition team has over 80 years of combined experience navigating different real estate cycles, and they are confident in their ability to execute on highly accretive properties in any environment. Simply put, if our target properties are going on sale, we’re buyers.
Ashcroft Capital will continue to implement its proven value-add strategy to the benefit of our limited partners, even if markets act differently in the next five years than the previous five. In our current offering, the Ashcroft Value Add Fund III, we have made significant purchases in hot markets where rental properties are in high demand. Combined with our track record of growing net operating income, we feel that these myths don’t have a leg to stand on.
“Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: Policy Tools” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 26 July, 2023, https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/openmarket.htm.
“United States 30-Year Mortgage Rate” Trading Economics, 2023, https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/30-year-mortgage-rate#:~:text=30%20Year%20Mortgage%20Rate%20in,percent%20in%20January%20of%202021.
Odion-Esene, Brai & Jennings, Chris, “Compare Current Mortgage Rates” Forbes, 29 August 2023, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/mortgages/mortgage-rates-08-23-23/.
Tayeb, Zahra, “The US housing market is defying doomsayers thanks to a supply crunch, Fannie Mae says” Markets Insider, 4 July, 2023, https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/us-housing-market-home-prices-supply-crunch-demand-fannie-mae-2023-7.
“Middle-Income Buyers Face the Most Severe Housing Shortage” National Association of Realtors, 8 June, 2023, https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/in-the-news/middle-income-buyers-face-the-most-severe-housing-shortage.
U.S. Census Bureau, “Rental Vacancy Rate in the United States” FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 29 August, 2023,https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RRVRUSQ156N.
Helhoski, Anna, “Rental Market Trends in the U.S. — Rent Growth Finally Slows” nerdwallet, 11 August 2023, https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/rental-market-trends.
Fisher, Ken, “You don’t need perfect timing, just time, to earn big returns in the stock market’ USA Today, 16 September 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2018/09/16/stock-market-2018-avoid-timing-returns/1303307002/.
Article Negative Leverage – Can You Still Make Money in Commercial Real Estate?
August 17, 2023
By: Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education
Let’s talk about negative leverage. This is a scenario happening right now on many commercial real estate deals, and it’s critical to understand as an investor.
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the following terms:
Cap rate:The amount of income a property produces without a loan (i.e. if you paid 100% cash)
Interest rate: What you are charged to borrow money (i.e. mortgage or loan interest)
What is negative leverage?
Negative leverage occurs when you are buying an investment property and the interest rate is higher than the cap rate. At first glance, you might think, why buy a property that produces 5% cash flow if you have to obtain a loan and pay 7% interest? Technically, you would be losing 2% on the investment. (5% – 7% = -2%)
Let’s examine a couple case studies to see if this scenario can make sense as an investor.
Case Study #1: Buying a brand-new multifamily apartment building
If you purchase a brand-new multifamily property that has all the latest and greatest, high-end finishes, amenities, and technology, then there is nothing substantial that can be done to drive the rents higher, the property is therefore reliant on whatever the market rents do.
There are three scenarios that could unfold:
The market rents increase (there’s a chance of making money)
The market rents remain stagnant (you may or may not make money)
The market rents decline (you may lose money)
Case Study #2: Buying a value-add multifamily apartment building
“Value-add” refers to an older, pre-existing property that is currently outdated, but can be renovated to compete with newer-built properties that offer modern amenities, technology, security, color schemes, and renter appeal. These properties are often rented at below market rent due to their current condition.
This makes sense if we think about it from a renter’s perspective. Many renters are willing to pay $500 more per month for a nicer, safer community that has more to offer. Unlike brand-new apartment buildings, there is an opportunity with value-add properties to make strategic improvements and renew the condition to appeal to more renters.
Here are few examples below of modernized value-add renovations:
Let’s assume the average market rent is $1,700 per month. Newly constructed properties are renting for $2,000 per month and older/outdated properties are renting for $1,500 per month in a particular market. The opportunity with value-add is to make improvements and lift the rent to $1,700 per month to be in alignment with market rents.
For example, if the property had 400 units in total, and each unit could be lifted $200 per month over a 5-year timeframe, that would increase the income by $960,000 per year. While this is great for cash flow, how much “value” or equity could be created if the property was sold at that point?
To figure this out, we can use the following formula:
This would amount to a potential equity valuation increase of $19,200,000. Of course, this is a simplified example and there are more factors to consider, but it provides an interesting scenario to consider.
How likely is it to lift rents by $200 x 400 units?
If we consider this business plan in a 5-year timeframe, that would amount to a $40 increase each year, or a 3% rent increase annually. Considering the property is being improved and providing more value for the residents, this could be a reasonable expectation. For a little perspective, below is the national rent growth since 1940 in the United States.
Thechart above is not to suggest that rents always move up every year.Rent declines do occur, recent examples include 2009 and 2020 shown below. But real estate is a longer-term investment, 5years in this example. Do you think rents will be higher or lower in 5 years?
Circling back to our example, the same three scenarios could unfold in terms of rent:
The market rents increase (there’s a chance of making money)
The market rents remain stagnant (there’s a chance at making money if you can improve the property and lift rents using a value-add business plan)
The market rents decline (you may lose money, but there’s also a chance to make money if you can outpace the market rent decline after making improvements)
Right now, in America, there is high demand for rental housing. As shown above, the cost to own a home in 2023 is far more expensive compared to renting. Furthermore, there are added costs to home ownership: down payments, closing costs, property tax, higher insurance, ongoing maintenance, and potential HOA dues.
These factors are resulting in millions of Americans renting by necessity; in other words, they cannot afford to be a homeowner. Additionally, many are choosing to rent by choice because it may be cheaper or more economical than owning.
In recap, can you still make money in commercial real estate with negative leverage? The answer is likely yes, provided that the chosen business plan puts the odds in your favor. Learn more at https://info.ashcroftcapital.com/fund or reach out anytime email@example.com. I have been investing in value-add real estate for 15+ years and I’ve made it my mission to help you and others learn the game.
Ashcroft Capital is a vertically integrated multifamily investment firm comprised of industry-leading executives. The firm applies institutional policies and procedures while remaining entrepreneurial and implementing innovative solutions to each asset it acquires. We are driven by a focused mission to improve the quality of life for the residents at each community in our portfolio. Though Ashcroft is first and foremost focused on capital preservation, this approach has resulted in several outsized, full-cycle investor returns.
Article Investor Feature: Mom and Air Force Veteran Reinvents Herself Through Investment
August 10, 2023
“I am recently retired, and I’m on version 4.0 of myself.”
Susan Hunter knows that in life and the market, the only thing constant is change. Thanks to her military training and adaptive mindset, she has gracefully rolled with life’s punches and evolved to meet new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
The many reinventions of Susan Hunter
Susan version 1.0 was an Air Force Academy graduate who served eight years before leaving the military to raise two kids with her husband. Retiring from service ushered in a new era for Susan that saw her become a teacher and dedicated mom. Then, sadly, disaster struck. “With a two-year-old and an eight-month-old, I lost my husband in an aircraft accident,” Susan explains.
“There was this financial crisis of, ‘Are we going to be okay?’ I would qualify myself as someone who’s always been concerned about money. When I was a kid, I remember my mom wondering what the next thing would be to drag the family into trouble. I think some of that never goes away.” As a result, Susan set a goal for investment to “replace income and be truly financially independent so I don’t have to wonder if we’re going to be okay this year, next year, or 10 years from now.”
Susan 2.0 quickly found her footing as a single mom, remarried a few years later, and settled in Virginia Beach, VA, where she continued to evolve, grow, and invest!
With her children grown and some money to spare, the third version of Susan was born. “When both kids became financially independent, I looked at what money we had left from when their dad passed. We didn’t end up needing all of it for medical bills or school or any of the other things that come up when you’ve got kids. So, I said, ‘Maybe I’ll take a chance on myself.’ I’d never been in business. I went from the Air Force to being a teacher and I didn’t know the first thing about running a business. But I did a lot of research, and I decided a franchise made a lot of sense. I looked at about five businesses and decided on a security franchise. We did electronic security installations and services.”
Susan ran the business with her son for nine years and exited with a healthy sum when it sold in 2022. “When I asked myself what I would do with the proceeds of the business, Ashcroft became a major part of my investment strategy for tax purposes and retirement,” she says.
“I have twice had the opportunity to have a significant sum of money, and when I placed it in the market, there was a correction within three months. So I wanted to find some alternative ways to invest.”
Looking to Ashcroft to reinvent retirement
Throughout her career, Susan followed all the traditional paths for investment, but wanted to diversify after experiencing market volatility as a risk-averse investor. She was first introduced to syndicated real estate investment by participating in the Academy Fund, which she gained access to as a former member of the armed forces. On monthly Service Academy calls, Susan was exposed to multiple firms, operators, and deals in various stages of development.
“It was pretty clear that Ashcroft is a very stable company,” she explains. “It’s even one step more stable than going into a specific deal. The fund has multiple deals, so you’ve spread out the risk. That’s what brought me to the firm.”
Now that Susan is living version 4.0 with income from Ashcroft as the wind in her sails, she’s “setting a cadence for doing something fun,” including visiting her daughter every quarter on the West coast and planning international travel.
She’s already visited Israel with her son to celebrate the sale of their business. Italy, New Zealand, and several other exotic destinations are just ahead. This is definitely Susan’s best version yet!
Read the July Issue of The Monthly Distribution here.
Article Multifamily Trends: Looking to Q3 and Beyond
August 9, 2023
By: Ryan Wynkoop, Investor Relations Manager
Latest reporting has shown inflation having recently dropped, but the housing market is one of the sectors that continues to remain elevated. With the housing market elevated, these higher than normal real estate prices often mean home ownership is unattainable for many Americans. This is because home prices are rising faster than wages in more than 90% of the nation, according to Ashcroft Capital’s Q2 2023 Real Estate Market Report. These rising housing prices suggest it’s a wise time to consider investing in the multifamily housing market.
In our Q2 2023 Real Estate Market Report, the company analyzes current multifamily housing trends, and highlights how you can best understand ways to maximize opportunities in the existing market. Additionally, this report forecasts what you can expect from multifamily construction and the investment opportunities through the rest of 2023. Read on to glean insight into the benefits of investing in multifamily real estate, current multifamily trends, and the current state of the multifamily housing market.
2023 anticipates a peak in new multifamily construction in many areas of the country.
Fannie Mae anticipates that the national vacancy rate may rise to 6% in 2023.
There is an influx of high-income individuals in the rental market due to higher home values. Multifamily tenants with monthly incomes of up to $10,000 are choosing to rent in multifamily buildings.
Capitalization (cap) rates slowly declined at the end of 2022 to 5%.
Inflation remains top of mind for many Americans, and the Federal Reserve continues to raise federal funds rates to help lessen the impacts of inflation, though some predict that the Federal Reserve will stop raising funds in 2023.
While mortgage rates have slightly decreased, homeownership is still unaffordable for many, as home prices are rising faster than wages in more than 90% of the nation.
Despite inevitable challenges, Ashcroft Capital has a positive outlook for the multifamily market and investment opportunities in 2023.
We maintain open communication with our network of owners and brokers and will continue to maintain transparency through investment memos for each new multifamily asset that goes under contract.
With the country’s housing shortage, investing in multifamily real estate is considered a wise opportunity for new and existing investors.
Rental Growth and New Construction
This year anticipates a peak in new multifamily construction in many areas of the country. The multifamily construction industry expects to see 300,000 new multifamily units completed across the United States in 2023. This volume is expected to result in a record-high supply of available units. Because of this supply volume, Fannie Mae anticipates that the national vacancy rate may rise to 6%. ApartmentList.com explains that this quantity of apartment units under construction can help keep rental prices in check this year, amid a housing affordability crisis that is currently affecting single-family home ownership.
In Q1 of 2023, the national average for apartment rent was $1,708 per month. This monthly rent average is an increase from 2022. Furthermore, 2023 will likely see further multifamily rent increases, with projected growth upwards of 4 to 5%.
Despite the record-high multifamily construction volume, developers continue to experience the delays that have plagued the construction industry since the Covid-19 pandemic began. From difficulties securing materials to delays in the building permit process, construction progress depends on factors that are often beyond control. These delays may continue throughout 2023, possibly impacting the anticipated peak in available multifamily units.
Being a renter no longer has the income parameters it historically did. High-income individuals continue to infiltrate the rental market. This trend began in 2021 and remains steady. The introduction of 2020’s higher home values introduced high-income multifamily residents to the rental market. In Q1 of 2023, the average monthly income for multifamily tenants approximated $7,000. Currently, multifamily tenants with monthly incomes of up to $10,000 are choosing to rent in multifamily buildings. This income level is up from 2016 through 2020, where the monthly income for renters was below $8,000. Ashcroft Capital’s Q2 2023 Real Estate Market Report anticipates rent growth to remain positive through 2024.
However, while paychecks are increasing at the highest rate among lower-skilled workers, home prices are rising faster than wages in more than 90% of the nation. This wage gap is putting homeownership out of reach for many individuals, making the rental market an appealing housing option.
Approximately 300,000 multifamily units are expected to come online this year across US markets. This is a significant uptick from 2022 and would be a record high for apartment completions. According to Fannie Mae, it is expected that the amount of new supply completed over the next 12 months will push the national vacancy rate up to 6% in 2023. The increasing multifamily supply, softening labor market, and potential midyear rebound in single-family activity could help recalibrate the housing market and bring the multifamily metrics closer to long-term averages.
For example, Texas is currently experiencing the highest volume of new multifamily construction. Austin, Dallas, and Houston are the significant metros that led the country in multifamily construction volume, according to MultiHousingNews.com. Austin holds the spot for the metro with the fastest pace for the past six years. Focusing on Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW), Ashcroft Capital has had a strong relationship with the booming Texas metroplex since the company’s founding. In total, Ashcroft owned 32 properties in DFW and still has 18 in our portfolio, making it our most frequented market to drive investor returns.
On the other hand, rental rates are experiencing month-over-month growth, particularly in the Sun Belt Markets. Ashcroft Capital’s overall portfolio has a strong presence in a number of submarkets throughout the Sunbelt such as Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. These southern markets continue to exceed the national averages.
Frank Roessler, CEO and co-founder of Ashcroft Capital, shared with Multi Family Executive that Ashcroft Capital believes there may be interesting multifamily opportunities for Ashcroft Capital in the Sun Belt over the next year to year and a half.
Inflation remains at the forefront for many Americans. Despite the recent drop in inflation, prices remain high in the housing sector. The Federal Reserve continues to raise federal funds rates to help lessen the impacts of inflation. However, with the possibility of an anticipated moderate recession later in the year, some predict that the Federal Reserve will stop raising funds in 2023. The current federal funds rate is 5.25%, which may drop at the end of 2023. With an anticipated drop, multifamily real estate interest rates may also decrease, making it an attractive investment for multifamily investors.
Capitalization (cap) rates slowly declined at the end of 2022 to 5%.
The cap rate formula is a property’s annual net operating income (NOI) divided by the property’s market value. The cap rate assesses the property’s returns in a one-year period.
According to CBRE, the average multifamily cap rate was approximately 4.49% at the end of 2022. This number is higher than it was pre-Covid-10 pandemic.
While mortgage rates have slightly decreased, homeownership is still unaffordable for many Americans because it is a seller’s market with high home values. However, Fannie Mae forecasts that the 30-year mortgage rate will decrease from 6.5% at the beginning of 2023 to 6% by the end of the year. Likewise, Freddie Mac’s average 30-year mortgage rate was 6.6% in early 2023 and it anticipates mortgage rates will drop to 6.2% later in the year. The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that average mortgage rates will be around 5.7% during 2023, which is down from the 30-year mortgage rate of 6.2% for Q1 2023.
Despite a shifting market and the challenges that come with it, we have a positive outlook for the multifamily real estate market and investment opportunities in 2023. In the first half of 2023, the amount of dealflow and transactions has been markedly slow, as pricing discovery has been emerging. In the second half of 2023, we anticipate additional dealflow and transactions, creating more buyer confidence and resurgence in investment opportunity.
We maintain open communication with our network of owners and brokers and will continue to maintain transparency through investment memos for each new multifamily asset that goes under contract.
Roessler says, “I think multifamily is poised to attract strong investor interest over the long term. Whether going through a rent-growth plateau or even a slight decline, the fundamentals remain very strong compared with other asset classes.”
Roessler continues, “The current cost of buying a home in a time of higher interest rates will support apartment demand, and the impact of a recession on renter demand could be relatively minimal.”
The multifamily real estate market is adjusting alongside the economy. The cap rates have risen since 2021 and prices are higher. With the country’s single-family housing shortage and home ownership being unaffordable for many Americans, investing in multifamily real estate is considered a wise opportunity for new and existing investors. In fact, according to Colliers 2023 Global Investor Outlook Report, multifamily apartments are the top asset choice in America. With a new wave of multifamily developments expected to emerge at the end of 2023, attractive multifamily acquisition opportunities may come on the market.
Scott Lebenhart, chief investment officer at Ashcroft Capital, shared with Multifamily Insiders that while the pace of multifamily building sales will continue for the foreseeable future, multifamily properties will likely become an investor favorite.
Duggan, Wayne. “The Price Is Right: U.S. Inflation Hits Two-Year Lows In May” Forbes. June 13, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/current-inflation-rate.
Betancourt, Kim. Komosa, Tim. “Multifamily Economic and Market Commentary” Fannie Mae. January 2023. https://www.fanniemae.com/media/46096/display#:~:text=That%20said%2C%20the%20national%20multifamily,in%20the%20forecast%20in%202024.
Salviati, Chris. Warnock, Rob. “Sun Belt metros lead apartment construction boom in 2023” ApartmentList.com. March 13, 2023. https://www.apartmentlist.com/research/sun-belt-metros-lead-apartment-construction-boom-2023.
Michael Griffin, Michael. McCunney-Thomas, Patricia. “Contractors continue to face myriad challenges in 2023” HKA.com. March 15, 2023. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3b4cda87-570e-4b2e-b85b-5e2faa61677c.
Gagiuc, Anca. “Top 10 Markets for Multifamily Construction” Multi-Housing News. May 18, 2023. https://www.multihousingnews.com/top-markets-for-multifamily-construction.
MFE Staff. “Q&A With Frank Roessler of Ashcroft Capital” Multifamily Executive. June 1, 2023. https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/business-finance/business-trends/q-a-with-frank-roessler-of-ashcroft-capital_o.
Bankrate.com. “Fed Funds Rate.” Bankrate.com. June 27, 2023. https://www.bankrate.com/rates/interest-rates/federal-funds-rate.
JPMorgan.com. “The role of cap rates in real estate.” JPMorgan.com. November 1, 2022. https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/real-estate/commercial-term-lending/cap-rates-explained.
Barkham, Ph.D., Richard. “Underwriting Assumptions Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels for Prime Multifamily Assets” CBRE. January 13, 2023. https://www.cbre.com/insights/briefs/underwriting-assumptions-exceed-pre-pandemic-levels-for-prime-multifamily-assets.
Lebenhart, Scott. “Apartment Investment Sales Will Rebound in Time.” Multifamily Insiders. April 24, 2023. https://www.multifamilyinsiders.com/multifamily-blogs/apartment-investment-sales-will-rebound-in-time.
Article Discover Investment Opportunities in Florida: Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum
August 3, 2023
By: Evan Polaski, Investor Relations Managing Director
Florida is experiencing rapid population growth, while maintaining an unemployment rate of 2.2%, below the national average of 3.5%. The state has exceeded the national job growth rate for the last 21 months. Florida’s “Florida 2030” plan aims to strengthen communities and businesses in all 66 counties. The state is adding 1,000 residents a day and is forecasted to create more than 250,000 jobs in 2023–continuing to be one of the top states leading job creation.
Ashcroft Capital has identified two exceptional investment opportunities, Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum, as the second and third assets in the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) portfolio. These properties offer a unique combination of regional and economic benefits, making them attractive for investors seeking to capitalize on high-growth markets, quality construction, and a robust business plan. In this article, we will delve into the details of these properties and explore why Ashcroft Capital is investing in Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum multifamily properties.
Location, Location, Location
Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum are located in high-growth markets with thriving economies and rapidly growing populations. This population growth is fueled by diverse industries, including technology, healthcare, and finance, creating new job opportunities and attracting skilled workers. Both properties are strategically located near major employment centers, providing residents easy access to job opportunities and contributing to the strong demand for rental properties in these areas.
Gateway Lakes is near the University Town Center, one of the largest retail centers in Sarasota, and the Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Sarasota is also home to white sand beaches with over 120 parks and trails spread over 3,000 acres. As one of the fastest-growing metros in the country, Sarasota ranked 4th in the nation for net immigration in 2022, and the population has increased by 4.2% since 2020, outpacing the national average of 0.4% during that same time period. This explosive growth is expected to continue as the 5-year forecast projects a population increase of 13.1%, including a 9.3% increase in residents within the 18 to 35 age range, compared to 2.6% nationally.
Cocoplum’s location within the Ft. Lauderdale metro continues to benefit from significant net immigration, with residents relocating from all areas of the nation. The city has seen its population grow more than 14% since 2010. With its relative affordability, quality of life and tax-friendly environment, major companies such as Citadel, Blackstone, Microsoft, Starwood Capital, and Uber are among hundreds of companies that have relocated to the South Florida region. With the influx of corporations and businesses relocating to Broward County, the economic base expanded 2% year-over-year in 2022, which has kept unemployment below 2.5%, outpacing the nation.
Additionally, both properties are near top-rated schools, further enhancing their appeal to families and young professionals. Both properties have demonstrated consistent rent and occupancy growth over the past few years, reflecting the strong demand for quality housing in their respective markets. Furthermore, this trend is expected to continue as population and job growth in these areas drive further demand for rental properties.
Opportunities for Property Renovation and Improvement
Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum boast high-quality concrete block construction that withstands high winds, is better insulated, and minimizes noise. Both properties offer residents a range of amenities and have been well-maintained, with the previous owner investing in upgrades and improvements to enhance their appeal to residents. Built in 1996, Gateway Lakes offers 358 units with an average size of 968 square feet and is 96.1% occupied. Cocoplum, built in 1986/87, consists of 360 units with an average size of 1,134 square feet and is 94.2% occupied.
Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum offer significant opportunities for vertical integration through targeted renovation and improvement plans. These properties can further increase their market competitiveness and rental income potential by investing in strategic property enhancements, such as upgrading apartment interiors, modernizing amenities, and improving curb appeal. This vertical integration strategy allows investors to maximize the value of their investment and generate strong returns over time.
Since 2017, the current owner of Gateway Lakes spent more than $4 million on capital expenditures, including new roofs, exterior paint, amenity enhancements, and light unit upgrades. To better compete with the neighboring properties in the area, Ashcroft Capital’s business plan includes fully upgrading all common areas and amenities to a best-in-class finish. Furthermore, the clubhouse, fitness center, pool areas, and other features are expected to be significantly improved to elevate the property’s overall quality. Current ownership has renovated five units to a full luxury renovation scope, achieving premiums of around $250/per month over their “classic condition” units. This provides Ashcroft Capital the opportunity to bring the remaining 353 units to a luxury-level finish by upgrading the units to include wood-style flooring, quartz countertops with an under-mount sink, stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash, new cabinet fronts, updated fixtures and hardware, and a modern lighting package. [the above sentence could be shown along with the before and after photos] Additionally, we plan on installing private backyards to select units. Renovated rents at the property are projected to remain below the immediate comp set, leaving further upside potential.
Since 2017, the current owner of Cocoplum spent more than $5 million on capital projects such as roof repairs, exterior paint, and amenity enhancements. However, the now-dated common areas will benefit from significant upgrades to provide residents with a best-in-class amenity package. To better compete with the neighboring properties in the area, Ashcroft Capital will fully upgrade all common areas and amenities (i.e., fitness center, clubhouse, etc.) to a best-in-class finish that will further elevate the property’s overall quality. The current owners have also begun an interior renovation program with 227 units (62%) that have been upgraded and are achieving premiums of $200-$250 per unit. Additional upside remains through adding new lighting, subway-tile backsplash, and other upgrades, which will command an additional premium. The remaining 133 units are a mix of partially renovated and classic condition units, which Ashcroft Capital will renovate to include wood-style flooring, quartz countertops with an under-mount sink, stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash, new cabinet fronts, updated fixtures and hardware, and a modern lighting package. [the above sentence could be shown along with the before and after photos] Given Ashcroft’s conservative approach, our projected renovated rents at the property are still below other nearby properties, leaving further room for additional upside.
The renovation and improvement plans for Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum are designed to create significant value for investors by enhancing the properties’ market competitiveness and rental income potential. By providing residents with a comfortable and luxurious living environment and desirable amenities, these properties are well-positioned to attract and retain high-quality tenants, ensuring stable rental income for investors.
Ashcroft Capital’s Investment Business Plan
Ashcroft Capital’s primary focus is on capital preservation, ensuring that our investors’ capital is protected and secure. Investing in high-quality properties, like Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum, minimizes the risk of capital loss and provides our investors with a stable, income-generating asset. Our conservative underwriting approach and rigorous due diligence ensure we aim to invest in properties with strong fundamentals and long-term growth potential.
Timing is crucial in real estate investment, and Ashcroft Capital carefully selects deals that offer the right combination of risk and reward. With Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum, we have identified properties well-positioned to benefit from their respective markets’ strong regional and economic trends. Additionally, pricing has come down over the past 18 months, and these properties are being purchased for $204 million, representing a 5.5% cap rate on the portfolio. The cap rate is NOI divided by the purchase price. Therefore, if this portfolio were trading a year and a half ago based on the same NOI of today, it would’ve traded at a 4% cap rate about 18 months ago. If you apply that 4% cap rate to the same NOI that we’re buying it at, that would equate to roughly a $264 million purchase price. Again, we’re buying for $204 million, representing roughly a 29% discount to where prices traded 18 months ago. Our cap rate will be spread above the all-in interest rate of the loan, and this debt structuring will allow for stronger cash flow throughout the term of the hold. By investing in these properties at the right time, our investors can capitalize on the growing demand for quality housing and generate attractive returns.
Ashcroft Capital utilizes fixed-interest loans to finance our investments, providing our investors with predictable and stable cash flows. By locking in favorable interest rates, we can minimize the impact of interest rate fluctuations on our investments and ensure consistent returns for our investors. This conservative financing approach further enhances the stability and security of our assets, making Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum an attractive opportunity for investors seeking a reliable income stream.
Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum present a compelling investment opportunity for investors seeking to capitalize on the regional and economic benefits of high-growth markets, quality construction, and a robust business plan. By investing in these properties, investors can benefit from strong rent and occupancy growth, capitalize on opportunities for vertical integration, and enjoy the stability and security of a well-structured investment.
Ashcroft Capital’s Real Estate Fund
Ashcroft Capital has a proven track record of success in the real estate investment industry, having acquired over $2.7 billion in assets and managing a portfolio of more than 13,000 units. This experience and expertise provide investors with confidence in Ashcroft’s ability to identify and capitalize on exceptional investment opportunities, like Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum. Our disciplined approach to underwriting and asset management ensures that each investment is carefully evaluated and managed to maximize returns for investors. As our investors know, we have a track record of selling 26 deals for an average return of 25.6% to our investors.
The regional and economic benefits of Gateway Lakes and Cocoplum, combined with Ashcroft Capital’s expertise and proven track record, make these properties a great investment for investors. By investing in these properties, investors can capitalize on the strong market fundamentals, attractive location benefits, and significant value-add potential, while enjoying the stability and security of a well-structured investment managed by an experienced real estate investment firm.
Real estate funds like the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) differ from syndications by investing in multiple properties rather than a single deal. The fund is structured so that investments are allocated across multiple properties, creating diversified sources of return.
The AVAF3 is an open private placement fund for accredited investors interested in diversifying their investment portfolios into multifamily real estate. The minimum investment is $25,000 and investors can invest in Class A and/or Class B Limited Partnership Interests. The AVAF3 is targeting 6-10 multifamily properties throughout the Sunbelt region with an anticipated hold of 5-7 years.
The AVAF3 offers both Class A and Class B share types. An investment in Class A shares earns a 9% coupon, generating strong projected cash flows while reducing risk. Upon disposition of a property in the fund portfolio, Class A shares offer limited distributions in exchange for the higher coupon rate. Class B shares earn a 7% coupon. However, Class B shareholders have greater overall return potential through their participation in the disposition of fund properties.
2020 Florida Population Growth. fdot.gov™. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2023 from https://fdotwww.blob.core.windows.net/sitefinity/docs/default-source/planning/demographic/2020popsum.pdf?sfvrsn=8c77f8b0_2#:~:text=Since%20the%202010%20Census%2C%20Florida’s,14.9%25%20over%20the%20time%20period.&text=Figure%201%20depicts%20the%202020,in%20population%20for%20each%20county.
Broward County’s Year-over-Year Job Growth Trend Continues with a 36,300 Job Gain in November 2022.www.gflalliance.org™. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2023 from https://www.gflalliance.org/news/2022/12/19/press-releases/broward-county-s-year-over-year-job-growth-trend-continues-with-a-36-300-job-gain-in-november-2022.
Article You Are Here. Trying to Time the Real Estate Market
August 1, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
As investors, we are always looking to deploy capital into the market or a particular asset class at the most opportune time. Fortunately, well-documented evidence shows us how markets can rotate through semi-predictable cycles. The biggest challenge is timing. How do we pinpoint where we sit on these cycles, and how long will these cycles last?
“Don’t try to time the market” is one of the most popular pieces of advice you will hear from any financial advisor, and this is a sound strategy overall. One 2021 CNBC article states, “Looking at data going back to 1930, the firm found that if an investor missed the S&P 500′s 10 best days each decade, the total return would stand at 28%. If, on the other hand, the investor held steady through the ups and downs, the return would have been 17,715%” . The difference in returns in this example is eye-opening and reinforces the idea that the most effective way to build long-term wealth is to invest consistently in quality assets. However, as investor psychology would have it, buying and holding is easier said than done. Most investors do not tend to plan based on a 91-year time horizon. Uncertainty breeds hesitancy, and waiting for the perfect time is how most investors completely miss an excellent opportunity.
Real estate cycles flow in loosely defined phases of recovery, expansion, hyper supply, and recession. Famed economist and pioneer in real estate research Homer Hoyt discovered that real estate market cycles typically last at least 18 years before repeating themselves . This raises the question: Where are we in the current cycle? An even more important question: Is now a good time to invest in real estate? The answer lies in each market.
It’s Just a Phase
Analyzing the different elements used to determine real estate phases can be tricky. Certain data can point definitively to being in one phase, whereas other data suggest we are between phases.
Recent data from the Yardi Matrix acknowledged that the “fundamentals for multifamily ‘remain strong’ with ongoing demand, continued rent growth, and nearly 1 million new deliveries expected over the next two years. But property values and sales prices have plummeted in 2023, and the high cost of debt has reduced demand and is also expected to lead to more defaults in the months ahead” . Most investors prefer assets that have seen their value drop (are on sale) but are nonetheless predicted to have healthy multiyear demand.
Furthermore, JPMorgan’s recently released 2023 Midyear Commercial Real Estate Outlook shows multifamily rental costs rising more slowly, but multifamily properties are still showing fundamental strength. “The national vacancy rate for multifamily was at 4.5% at the end of 2022, according to Moody’s Analytics, even as the rate of rent increases fell. Vacancy rates vary widely across metro areas, but the median vacancy rate nationwide is 3.9% as of April” .
As Yardi Matrix Manager of Business Intelligence Doug Ressler explained, “Multifamily risk is some of the lowest in the industry, as opposed to office or retail. And that’s because of the fundamental fact that people need housing, and there’s a shortage of housing that won’t be corrected in the next five or six years” .
To summarize the broader real estate market, vacancies are decreasing even as rents rise because of the increasingly high cost of home ownership and interest rates. New construction growth is high but struggling to keep up with demand because high rates and supply chain issues hamstring efforts. Rent growth is low to moderate, even as U.S. monthly rents reach an all-time high of $1,716 a month . Absorption is moderate to high as “the country’s affordable housing supply continues to lag far behind demand.”
Choose a Choosy Syndicator
The real estate market you invest in is as important as macro-based trends or the phases of the market cycle. There are investment opportunities in every real estate market and phase if you know where to look. While one market may be in a recession, another might be expanding rapidly. This is why it is so advantageous to work with an experienced real estate syndicator like Ashcroft Capital.
Not only were we able to find nonmarketed properties in an environment where “the pace of multifamily transactions is roughly 70 percent slower in 2023 than in recent years” , but we were also able to expand into three of our highly coveted target markets.
The Ashcroft Value-Added Fund III will be a smaller fund than its predecessors, but its properties coupled with informed purchase timing could be beneficial to our limited partners.
Stevens, Pippa, “This chart shows why investors should never try to time the stock market” CNBC, 21 March, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/24/this-chart-shows-why-investors-should-never-try-to-time-the-stock-market.html.
Kurtzahn, Stephen, “Real Estate Market Cycles – Where We’re At Today And What’s Next” Yahoo, 22 August, 2022, https://www.yahoo.com/video/real-estate-market-cycles-where-134552654.html.
Pascus, Brian, “Strong Fundamentals, Weak Market: Why Multifamily Is a Hall of Mirrors” Commercial Observer 3 July, 2023, https://commercialobserver.com/2023/07/strong-fundamentals-weak-market-multifamily-hall-mirrors.
Brooks, Al, “2023 midyear commercial real estate outlook” J.P. Morgan Chase 1 May, 2023, https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/real-estate/commercial-real-estate/midyear-commercial-real-estate-outlook.
Pascus, Brian, “Strong Fundamentals, Weak Market: Why Multifamily Is a Hall of Mirrors” Commercial Observer 3 July, 2023, https://commercialobserver.com/2023/07/strong-fundamentals-weak-market-multifamily-hall-mirrors.
Brooks, Al, “2023 midyear commercial real estate outlook” J.P. Morgan Chase 1 May, 2023, https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/real-estate/commercial-real-estate/midyear-commercial-real-estate-outlook.
Article Investor Feature: Investing in Yourself and Aligning with Your “Why”
July 25, 2023
“We’re investing with intention. We reset everything during COVID to reassess our priority in life. We came up with our ‘Why,’ and it’s stronger than ever.”
“We can’t do anything––and is the world ending?” Stan Sudarso recalls, tongue-in-cheek, how the pandemic shook the world and his perspective. Stan and his wife Kelly Lee, parents of two young children in Los Angeles, were inspired to reassess their priorities as they watched COVID-19 sweep the globe. “At that point, we decided our kids, our family, is number one––front and center,” says Stan. “What do we need to do to spend more time with them?”
While they were earning some non-W2 income from a single-family rental, Stan and Kelly set out to discover how they could realign their investment strategy with their new vision for family life. According to Stan, “Multi-family investing was in a different ballpark––a game changer. I said, ‘Let’s go all-in on this and build our passive income streams.’ Now I have ‘Quit my W2 at the end of 2024’ on our vision board so we can live on our passive income and be present in our kids’ lives.”
After committing to their new strategy, the benefits came rolling in immediately. Kelly, an optometrist with her own practice, describes the transformation so far: “Our passive income has allowed us to retire Stan’s mother and provides a stronger sense of financial security for our family. Our inspiration, first and foremost, was to regain control of our time from being high-income earners with demanding occupations, and to be more present for our kids. We want to control how we spend time rather than being dictated by our job commitments. Lastly, as a medical professional, I’ve always wanted to volunteer and do mission work in underserved communities; achieving time freedom through passive income will enable me to execute on that vision and help those in need.”
Questioning the corporate ladder
Stan is currently the director of software engineering for an entertainment media company and has been in the tech industry for the last 20 years. As he reflects on his impressive career, he acknowledges that in some ways, it feels like going through the expected motions. “I was very passionate about coding and technology early in my career. I spent a lot of time putting in my sweat equity and climbing up the corporate ladder, because that’s what I was told to do. Do well in school, get a good job, climb the ladder, invest in 401k…and you retire happy, right?” Like so many others, Stan realized that conventional wisdom (and investment strategy) might not work as well as it used to.
“My kids are the joy of my life. I love spending time with them and, and I just want to spend more. That’s why I invest.”
To supplement that 401k and plan for a comfortable retirement full of family time, Stan and Kelly turned to real estate investment. “My wife and I started dabbling in real estate in 2009, when we bought our first single-family rental property. Being in tech, we get pretty well-compensated. So, I saved a lot of that and continued to build my portfolio of single-family rentals to the point where we had half a dozen rentals across California and Texas.”
Stan was confident that real estate was the right move and reasoned that the couple could work for another 20 years, pay off the houses, and build a healthy cushion of steady passive income for retirement.
But then the tax bill came. Since Kelly is a business owner, their annual tax burden was considerable; and again, they set out to discover a better way forward.
Investor to Evangelist
Stan reports that they were introduced to real estate syndication and multifamily investing in 2019. “That kind of just blew our mind. When we got our first advanced depreciation, I wasn’t sure what it was, so I brought it to my CPA. Of course, they told me to do a lot more of this to offset our tax liability.”
Stan and Kelly then offloaded two of their single-family properties to fund a multifamily investment. And they didn’t stop there. “To date, we’re actually in 21 limited partner deals,” says Stan. “Fast forward to now, and we’re very happy. We went all in on multifamily investing. We found out that this is the greatest way to scale faster than single-family homes.”
Though Stan and Kelly are happily ‘all-in’ now, Stan took the time to educate himself on the industry and its key players before taking the plunge. “In the beginning, I had no idea who these operators were. What is syndication? I had no idea. It had a negative stigma to me in the beginning. Is this a scam? Is this really valid? In my research and due diligence, from Google to YouTube to Podcasts, I came across Ashcroft and decided to take the chance.” Since then, Stan has worked with several other partners, but he holds Ashcroft in the highest regard.
“Ashcroft is the gold standard.”
Describing his favorite aspects of the investor experience, Stan says, “I compare other operators to Ashcroft. Some are sending me updates just a couple times a year––and that’s not enough. Ashcroft sends them monthly. Not only that, Ashcroft is very concise with their data points. It’s easy to consume for someone like me. Easy to understand. Not a lot of fluff. I also feel like Ashcroft has that personal touch.”
Naturally, Stan is thrilled with the passivity of the arrangement, as well as the tax benefits. “Not having to lift a finger dealing with a property manager in the middle of the night is really the best part. It allows me to really focus and shift my time to my family.”
Stan has become nothing short of an evangelist for syndicated real estate deals, hosting meetups and educating friends and family on the benefits of passive investing. “I think having a mentor really accelerates growth. That has been a huge help to me personally. Plus shifting your mindset to remove limiting beliefs. I just want you to take that first step, because I know that when I provide value, things will come back. I want to be that thought leader at the end of the day.”
A Limitless Future
Stan and Kelly have shaped the future they desire through their smart investment strategy. Instead of planning conference calls, the couple now looks forward to planning family vacations. “We plan at least four to five family trips a year. And when we go, we are present with our kids. I’m not checking my work phone, because in the back of my mind, I know we’re okay. We only have 18 summers with them, so we want to maximize every single moment we have with them and not miss out on any of the milestones in their lives.”
So far, their passive income has allowed them to retire Stan’s mother (as of last year!) and provide a stronger sense of financial security for their family. Their inspiration, first and foremost is to regain control of their time from being high income earners with highly demanding occupations, and to be more present in their kids’ lives. They can instead control how they spend their time rather than being dictated by job commitments. Kelly, as a medical professional, has always wanted to volunteer and do mission work in underserved communities. Being able to achieve time freedom through passive income will enable her to execute on that vision and help those in need.
“We are continuing to invest in the sunbelt states with high population and job growth and cash flowing from day one.”
Ashcroft Capital’s investment offerings are designed to fit busy professionals like Stan and Kelly, hands-off. “Ashcroft has been delivering on their projections YoY with consistent passive
cashflow on a monthly basis.” Their latest adventure is a road trip adventure to visit all 50 states and national parks. At 38 and counting, there’s no doubt this family will see them all before the kids are out of diapers, thanks to Stan and Kelly’s visionary passive income strategy!
Article How to Eliminate Pain Points with Passive Income
July 13, 2023
By: Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education
It is natural to look to avoid pain points. We all have them, and they can be anything that prevents us from living an optimal lifestyle. From mundane tasks we would rather not do, to ongoing problems that persist every month. Having passive income not only helps monetarily alleviate pain points, but also emotionally. This article will discuss ways to address eliminating your pain points by investing in passive income.
Not financial advice. I’m not a CPA, an attorney, or a financial advisor. This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only.
Let’s begin with a quote from Aristotle (over two thousand years ago).
Here’s a more modern-day quote from Tony Robbins…
Without a doubt, for thousands of years, humans have been looking to avoid complications. Many investors, myself included, think of long-term goals. I’ve asked hundreds of investors about their goals over the years and nearly every time, investors share long-term goals with me.
“I want to retire from my corporate job by the age of ____.”
“I want to have ____ amount of net worth when I retire.”
“I want to create _____ amount of passive income per month in the next 10 years.”
Today I want to explore how you could start benefiting much sooner. What if you could start expanding your lifestyle this year?
I’ll begin with a quick story. There was a time in my life, where I accrued bad debt from a hasty auto loan. I had purchased a luxury vehicle that frankly, I could barely afford. This also came at a point where my gross income was less than $30,000 per year.
As you can imagine, any re-occurring expense that I had in my life at that time was a big deal. This loan payment was a major pain point that made me cringe every time it came due. I would fill up with anxiety, because I worried that some unknown expense was going to pop up that would prevent me from making the paymentcausing me to lose my car.
(Not my house by the way ^)
In hindsight, my car payment was only $500 per month. But again, putting this in perspective of someone who earns less than $30,000 gross income per year, it was a big deal at that time. Like most people, I would go to work, save up money, and make my payment at the first of the month, and then my anxiety would drop down for two or three weeks until I started thinking about having to make the payment again. Living this way was uncomfortable but did you know….?
According to Lending Club, 60% of Americans Now Living Paycheck to Paycheck(As of January 2023)
This was my life just before I started investing in real estate, which was a huge game changer for me. Specifically, it was passive income that was the turning point. My first introduction to passive income was when I rented out a room in my first house. Today, this is called “house hacking”, back then it was called “having a roommate”. In any case, my roommate began paying me $600 per month in exchange for a furnished bedroom.
What did I do with this $600 check? I made my car payment! I effectively learned how to have someone else pay for my car. From an emotional standpoint, I eliminated one of my biggest pain points, which was much more satisfying than the money.
Throughout the years, I’ve used a similar strategy, and it’s really quite simple:
#1 Make an investment that produces passive income
#2 Use the passive income to eliminate a pain point
Here are a few practical examples of how you can apply this same strategy:
#1 Let’s say you have kids and they constantly make a mess of the house. This would be an example of a pain point. Let’s assume a house cleaning service cost $150 for a group or individual to come clean your house. Cleaning twice per month would cost $300.
What if you first invested $50,000 into an asset that produced passive income? Say that the investment offered an 8% annualized yield. Therefore, the monthly distribution would provide $333, which could be used to hire a house cleaning service, thus eliminating this pain point.
#2 Let’s say you have a high-stress job and it’s difficult to unwind at the end of the week. Using the same example as before, what if you invested $50,000 into an asset that produced passive income at an 8% annualized yield? You could consider setting up a massage on a Friday or a Saturday, two or three times per month and use your monthly distribution to pay for it. Thus eliminating the pain point and making your weekends a little more enjoyable.
#3 Here’s an example for those who want to take this strategy to the next level. MarketWatch released an article in 2022 stating that Ford Motor Company’s customers had an average auto loan payment of $832 per month for those who purchased a vehicle and financed it. This is compared to the average Ford lease payment of only $516 per month.
Instead of buying vehicles throughout a lifetime, financing them, and watching the “investment” disappear with depreciation, what if you invested $100,000 into a passive income producing asset that yielded 8% a year on average? That could generate a $666 monthly distribution.
Keep in mind with this example, I’m not even discussing potential equity upside on the investment, meaning the investment could increase in value over time (depending on what it’s invested in). I’m only talking about the possible passive income component.
Something else to consider…
#1 This strategy does not involve spending $100,000, as with buying vehicles that depreciate over time. This is simply moving cash into an investment, preserving the principle, and only using the passive income component to lease the vehicles.
#2 Compare this to what most people do. For example:
If a person buys five cars in their lifetime
They pay an average of $50,000 each time (including the taxes, fees, and registration)
Each car depreciates to $10,000 because of high mileage and the ageing of the vehicle
The vehicles get traded in for a new vehicle each time
This amounts to $200,000 in capital losses throughout a lifetime, and this doesn’t include any financing and interest cost if the vehicles were financed.
Focusing on passive income can be a unique way to view investing. Most people are equity focused and use a “buy-low and sell-high” strategy. Most also defer the benefits of investing until retirement. You don’t have to suffer until your golden years and have pain points build up over time. You can start eliminating pain points today, using passive income as your tool.
I want to leave you with this quote from Benjamin Franklin:
I recently launched a series on Ashcroft Capital’s YouTube Channel called “Passive Income Lifestyle” which is designed to help you enhance your lifestyle and learning the game of passive income.
If you ever have questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to help and have a conversation. I appreciate you taking the time to read. I hope you found some value in this short article!
By: Evan Polaski, Investor Relations Managing Director
The U.S. is in a recession by traditional definitions: depending on your source, several months or two consecutive quarters of economic slowdown. However, we continue to see strong employment rates, where recessions often carry an increase in job losses and unemployment.
But whether we are in a recession or just a period of strong economic uncertainty, the question remains: What should I do with my investment money?
Specific to real estate and multifamily, the industry I have spent my entire career in, we are seeing shifting fundamentals across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed people to want more space. Additionally, low interest rates made housing more affordable for many, given the lower monthly payments of a mortgage.
Now, with interest rates up, there are fewer buyers. With rents skyrocketing over the last 18 months, more renters are considering roommates.
With these broader economic risks and the shift in real estate, herein lies the catch-22…if you invest now, you are accepting more perceived risk than in an era of economic expansion, and yet the outlook on many investment returns is lower than can be assumed in stronger economies. Investing 101 states that more risk should yield higher returns, but that is not necessarily the case in uncertain times.
I am not a financial advisor, and so this information is purely my opinion on the subject.
When looking at making a real estate investment, I find when balancing many different factors, it all boils down to taking on or mitigating risks, including choosing to either sit on cash or invest. Here are some of the ways I view my personal investments today.
Sitting on Cash
As inflation continues to erode the value of your cash, we never see a major drop in real estate values to offset the erosion.
That said, many real estate fundamentals remain strong. As noted, we have not seen major declines in overall employment. If residents are employed, they continue to pay rent. Many industries are seeing continued strong outlooks, meaning those employees remain confident in the long-term outlook and have been shown to continue spending money, keeping retail earnings healthier than other recessions. This keeps office spaces occupied and business travel strong, thus supporting hotel business. With interest rates as high as they are, on top of significant material and labor prices, development pipelines have slowed to a near stop, meaning the continued high demand has no new supply to expand into. From here, Econ 101 takes over: Demand that’s higher than supply means higher prices on existing products. When office, retail, industrial, and apartment rents stay strong, along with RevPAR in hotels, values will remain high, and very few distressed assets will enter the market to start affecting prices.
The risk of investing now is the inverse of the above. While spending has remained strong, what if the tipping point is just around the corner? Lower spending means lower sales, which means job cuts and businesses cutting other expenses, too. Conservative operators are assuming this slowdown will come. Rent growth will slow, and occupancy will increase. Because of this, many operators are underwriting lower overall returns than may have been projected 12–24 months ago. Finance 101 states that you should be compensated for your risk, so risks that feel higher with return projections that are lower, don’t make sense.
Of course, no one has a crystal ball. We can listen to industry experts, but even those vary in their opinions of the future. Some will be right, and others will be wrong. For my personal portfolio, I am still investing, but at a slower pace. Basically, I am hedging. I don’t want all of my capital sitting idle waiting for a cliff that never comes. And I don’t want to sink all my eggs into an investment that may struggle along. This is the basic portfolio theory of dollar-cost averaging. While this is typically applied to buying stock over time, I view it the same way with real estate investments. I am looking to continually place capital both in periods of strong optimism and fear.
The benefit of this strategy, given the illiquid nature of real estate, is that it also helps create investment laddering, or having a steady stream of investments placed over time. This limits the likelihood of having a major capital event taking all my capital out at once, and introducing reinvestment risk on my entire pool of capital.
Lastly, I always take the Warren Buffett approach: Only invest in things you know and understand. Thankfully, there is a magnitude of educational content available to help you learn about any area of investing. And I never invest more than I can lose. With my real estate investments, that means asset classes I understand, operators I trust, and time to look into the details of their investments. How are they mitigating risks? How do their assumptions compare to current market conditions and long-term average market conditions? How did they perform during prior recessions?
Consider Focusing on the Long-term
If you choose to invest now even though we’re in a recession, you should first focus on the long-term. Real estate is a long-term investment that you’ll continue holding well past a recession, which is why it’s difficult to state that there’s a bad time to invest in real estate.
Because of the lack of supply that was mentioned above, prices of existing properties shouldn’t drop too much. Attempting to time a real estate investment is next to impossible, meaning it’s best to invest now if you have the funds to do so. Taking a long-term approach to your investments means that the current market conditions shouldn’t weigh significantly on your decision.
Understand Your Financial Situation
You should have a thorough understanding of your own financial situation. Do you have a high-risk tolerance? If so, there isn’t much stopping you from making additional investments during a recession. The time horizon for real estate is long, which effectively reduces your risk. 
In the event that your financials are strong, sitting on capital may result in its value dropping before you invest it. There are a few factors that I consider when assessing how durable my current financial situation is, for example, the balance in my emergency savings. If it’s lower than ideal, I think about building up my assets before choosing to invest more during a recession. On the other hand, having a large amount of emergency savings makes it easier for me to justify this type of investment.
I also assess how much of debt is high-cost debt. If you’re currently paying a high interest rate on credit card debt that would exceed your earnings from a specific investment, paying off some of this debt may be more beneficial than investing during a recession.
Last, I always consider my short-term needs. If you have numerous short-term expenses that you expect to pay over the next few years, investing might not be the best idea. However, the existence of a recession shouldn’t be the sole reason that you avoid putting your money into real estate if your financial situation is otherwise strong.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk During a Recession
Diversification in real estate means adding some properties to your portfolio that don’t carry much risk. For instance, multifamily investing is an investment that will likely generate consistent returns on a long-term basis depending on the syndicator. These gains may offset some losses from other assets in times of economic downturns. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are also another option for real estate investment portfolio. , 
It’s always good to have a strategy that aligns with your investment goals. For example, making sound real estate investments that are estimated to provide good cash flow and paying attention to your loan options and interest rates. indicate that interest rates tend to drop during a recession when the Federal Reserve makes adjustments to their rate policy. Waiting just a few months after the beginning of a recession may Historical trends Research indicates that interest rates tend to drop during a recession when the Federal Reserve adjusts their rate policy. Waiting just a few months after the beginning of a recession may lead to better financing. 
Sitting on idle capital has rarely proven to be a sound strategy, and those that try to time the market are often unsuccessful. However, being smart with your investments will continue to set you up for a better future.
Article Conversations | Multifamily Asset Management Q2 2023 Performance and Q3 2023 Outlook
July 7, 2023
By: Evan Polaski, Investor Relations Managing Director
Hi, I’m Evan Polaski, managing director of investor relations here at Ashcroft Capital. Today, I have Traci Wilhelm with me, Ashcroft’s director of asset management. Hi, Traci.
Hi, Evan. How’s it going?
It’s going well. How are you?
I’m great. Thank you.
Why don’t you remind our audience a little bit about your background and what you do here at Ashcroft?
Sure. I’ve been with Ashcroft for almost two years now, and I’ve been in the asset management business for multifamily for 13 years. Before that, I practiced law on the real estate transaction side. So, I’ve been in the business too many years to tell in public.
And in your asset management role, from a high level, what are some of the things that you’re doing day-to-day?
We are working hand in hand with the property management team to make sure that all of the business plans that we’re underwriting are being implemented. We are also working with any of the new market trends that are happening—anything that’s happening at a certain property to help guide them through solutions and come up with the best one for the business plan of the property.
I appreciate that insight—let’s dive into it. Just like we’ve done in prior quarters, I would love to get a recap as to how we were performing through Q2 and currently performing with the assets in terms of occupancy, collection, and those market trends you were just referencing that you’re looking into.
First, we’ll talk about collections. Our collections have actually been really strong, stronger than we’ve seen in the past year or so. Collections were strong through COVID, as you may remember. But then, in Q2 of 2022, we started to see collections really taking a dip. That’s because a lot of the rental assistance programs were ending, and we started to see a larger number of evictions. Because of that larger number, we weren’t the only ones seeing this. The eviction process lengthened across the portfolio, so it took us some time to get a lot of these nonpaying residents off the properties. We’ve been pretty successful at that across the country, with the exception of Atlanta, which is still very, very slow. We’ve thus seen the collections increase over that one-year period. Now we’re up about 120 basis points a month on collections and about 96% collected across the portfolio.
Most of our properties are in the 98, 99% range. We’ve got a couple that have always been a little lagging in terms of collections that are still pulling that average down to about 96%, but the majority of our properties are collecting quite well. In terms of occupancy, we are seeing a softening in the market, and our properties are no exception. We have underperformed our budget. We’ve seen CoStar has gone down anywhere from 1 to 4% in occupancy, depending on a certain submarket, and we’ve seen our portfolio decrease about 2.5 to 3% in occupancy. Some of that’s strategic because we did roll on to revenue management across the portfolio. We still have a few properties to roll on later this summer. But some of that is a strategic decrease in occupancy so that we can push that revenue and push those rents as much as possible. With our benchmarking program, we’re watching our competitive properties within every submarket to make sure that our goals are in line with what the submarket is achieving.
We’re not trying to achieve, for example, 97% occupancy in a market that’s sitting at 92% because that means we’ll miss out on a lot of revenue. We’re monitoring a lot of different things. Our occupancies have dropped, but so have all of the others in the market.
You’ve mentioned, as we’ve talked about in the past, this revenue management software. It’s really designed to maximize total revenue. For some of the properties sitting at 92%, this may be the actual maximum revenue generation, and hopefully, ultimately, NOI generation for that property where another market might be 95 or 96%, and rents are a little bit lower to keep that occupancy higher and in the grand scheme, maximize all of that. Correct?
That’s right. At the bottom line, the goal of the system is to maximize revenue, like you said. What creates value on our property fees is that rent roll increasing. It’s really focused on increasing the rent roll or maintaining the rent roll in markets as much as possible in markets where it may be going backward. We’ve seen a lot of softening, particularly in Atlanta. We are still seeing positive trade-outs at a lot of our properties. We have a few that are seeing some negative trade-outs, particularly in those with a heavy amount of new supply. The system is really helping us not overreact to some of those pressures and keep our rents as high as we can achieve while still achieving a stabilized occupancy. It’s been really beneficial for us. We’re watching it every day, making sure that it’s not doing anything too crazy, and it has really helped us maintain discipline in terms of our rents throughout this downward pressure on our properties.
Obviously, as you noted, it’s not just our properties. This is really fears of, if not fully, stepping into the early stages of a recession. So with that, we’re seeing some softening. How are we handling that? What kind of bigger trends are we planning for should we enter a deeper recession?
A few things. I always say this: the beauty of multifamily is that everyone needs a place to live. You’re not going to have an office phenomenon or commercial real estate phenomenon where you’re going to have empty apartment buildings. There’s still a housing shortage in the United States. We know that we may not be seeing as much growth as we’ve seen in the past. We may even go backward a little bit in rents on a couple of properties, but we’re still going to be positive in terms of NOI. We have that really solid foundation. Then, what we’re doing is reassessing what is bringing people to our properties and how we can maximize the amount of people coming so that we can close them. We’ve also launched some really interesting technology tools to help us do that as well as improve collections and retain talent.
We’ve launched a couple of artificial intelligence technologies that help us follow up on our leads more routinely so that we can free up our team to have that in-person interaction. We’re working on improving our online reputation scores because we know that’s fundamental to retention. We’ve launched a lot of initiatives over the last three or four months in preparation for this downward movement of the market so that we can be set up for success even within that. I was working during the GFC, so I was seeing a much more tense situation than we’re seeing today. There are all sorts of moves you can look at, but we are starting to just measure and make sure that we’re monitoring how the markets are performing versus our portfolio to ensure that we’re not either missing out on opportunities or exceeding other market indicators too.
There are a couple of properties where the market may seem soft to us because that property’s been at 96% for the last two years, but it’s at 94% today. And the market’s at 92%, so we feel really good about where we are. Sometimes it’s just support for where we are, and other times it’s just understanding the bigger picture. I think, aside from those technologies to really bring people in, we’ve also really focused our efforts on stopping unqualified residents from getting onto our properties. I think we mentioned this last call, but we implemented a technology called Snappt, and that has been really successful. For our whole portfolio, we rolled it out in January of this year. Since inception, we’ve cut 375 fraudulent applications, which is about 10% of our applications. That means 10% of the people who’ve applied have done so fraudulently.
Without this technology, we may have only caught a certain amount of them—the ones that were very obvious. As a reminder, this is the software that detects digital alterations to your bank statements and pay stubs. It’s been really beneficial for us. So we’re implementing tools like that along the way to stop the bleeding of bad debt on the front end so that we are only getting truly qualified candidates in the door. I think that we’re going to continue to see that as a huge factor. As people are getting evicted, like we talked about, now they have an eviction on their records, so they are going out and purchasing fraudulent documentation to perhaps be accepted.
And as you noted from prior conversations, this is more on the financial statement side, “Hey, I don’t actually earn as much as I’m telling you I earn so I can qualify.” But with increases in evictions and turnover, people might be using it on the background side as best as they can. We still run background checks on everybody ourselves, which hopefully, there’s no technology to amend those. Speaking of tenants and trying to ever improve that, what kind of trends are we seeing from those tenants?
I would say a couple of things. I think we are starting to see residents be a little bit more price sensitive, which I think is understandable. Everybody’s a little unsure of what’s going to be happening. We are starting to see a moderation in renewal rates, although we’re still getting really great trade-outs on our renewals overall. We’re starting to see the need to be a little bit softer on those in order to maintain our occupancy. Gone are the days of the 16% to 40% rent increases on renewals. We’re still sending out some that are above 10%, but the majority of them are closer to that 7, 8% range that are bringing them up to market. I would say that the sensitivity is on both the front end of leasing as well as the renewals. Then I would also say that an interesting shift is that we’re starting to see and feel a lot of people are leaving for home purchases.
It seems kind of a little counterintuitive, but I think they’ve been waiting so long waiting for the prices to come down, and they’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, and the prices haven’t come down as much as they wanted, but it’s their time, and they’ve just decided to go ahead and act. I think those are the two big trends that we’re seeing. We haven’t seen a lot of the big trends that were happening during the GFC. We haven’t seen a lot of people going from a one bedroom to a two bedroom and getting a roommate yet. We’re tracking that, and we’re starting to see some movement there, but it’s really going both ways right now. But we are tracking it. We’ll watch this because that was one of the big indicators in the GFC that our residents at the time were hurting.
Obviously, a roommate helps you split the cost, so not knowing the data, that was one thing I was thinking about. Are we starting to see more demand for two bedrooms with a roommate or a shift in demand for those two bedrooms with a roommate? Where during the pandemic it was, “I want a two bedroom because I need a home office and I don’t want to be in my bedroom.”
It’s to be determined. I think that price sensitivity will play into that. People will either say, “OK, it’s just me. I’m going to take the one bedroom.” Or they’re going to say, “OK, well, I still want the extra space, the bigger living room, and the bigger kitchen, but I need a roommate in order to afford it.” So we’re watching those trends, and I think we’ll see a little bit more and know a little bit more after the next quarter.
Now, kind of shifting pace, because a lot of this seemed to be on the leasing/tenant side—on the operations side, how are we doing with expenses? That is a big part of the overall NOI.
I’m not sure if we’ve talked about it on this call before, but I think the big impact that we’ve seen is in our insurance, and that’s an industry-wide issue. At a conference I was at recently, they said one of the big top four management companies or owners in the country said they’ve seen five years of double-digit increases. We did see a very large increase in our portfolio this year. However, last year, we had a 0% increase, so it feels bigger than it really is if you look at it over a two-year period. That is probably the biggest impact. What’s interesting about that, and I am not an insurance expert, is that there are a lot of people that have policies expiring now who are struggling to even get coverage, particularly in Florida, because there are so few people in this market.
One of the things that we’re really hoping for this year is a year without hurricanes—a year without any big-name storms and any major catastrophic losses for the insurance company—because what the prognosticators are saying is if we have that, a lot more people will come into the market, which should bring pricing down a little bit or at least keep it flat. That’s our optimistic hope for 2024. That’s a big piece of it. We actually have seen that payroll has been increasing. We budgeted appropriately, so we are within our 2023 budget right now, but we have seen payrolls pretty dramatically increase over the last couple of years. Part of that is because there’s so much supply delivering in our markets. Let’s take Atlanta, for example. You’ve got 30,000 units that are being supplied in Atlanta over the next year. That is, let’s just say, a hundred properties, with 300 units per property.
You’ve got a hundred properties now that need a staff of 10 people. And where are all those people coming from? They can’t be generated out of midair, so they’re starting to be plucked from other properties. In order to keep your really talented people, you have to match the pay. In a lease-up, they don’t care how much they pay someone, especially a merchant builder. So it’s been a challenge, and I think this year will be a challenge for us to retain people. We’re going to have to be willing to increase their pay a little bit to be competitive. Obviously, all of the cultural things that we do can provide a great benefit, but at the end of the day, a lot of times it comes down to the pay. We’re monitoring that and again, we have budgeted appropriately for this.
We budgeted for fairly large increases this year, even though we didn’t give that large of a raise because we knew that some of this would be coming. So like I said, we’re within budget. I will say, from an underwriting perspective, we are certainly over our underwriting expectations because we’ve seen an increase in the industry. I don’t know what the latest statistic is, but I looked at it about six months ago, and multifamily increases were like 14–15% versus 5–6% in the general economy. So I think we are starting to see that competition come through, but we planned and budgeted appropriately for it.
As you noted, from an underwriting perspective, it probably had an outsized impact looking back at the deals we may have bought in 2018 and 2019, where now we can kind of control it. But thankfully, those 2018 and 2019 deals benefited from, as you mentioned, 16% to 18% to even 40% renewal increases that we never underwrote for. So again, that’s the joy of underwriting conservatively: you don’t have to hit the mark on everything. The net result tends to start balancing it out.
The one other thing I would say is that we’re really watching taxes because you’re hearing a lot in the news about taxes, some of it positive. In Texas there’s some legislation that could actually positively impact us by really stopping the growth of taxes. It’s really meant for the single family, but it would impact us as well. I think that there are some positive things there, but we’re watching that as well as our tax consultant. Our initial assessments were quite high this year in Texas, but our consultant has been very successful at getting those down. We don’t expect anything different this year. In Georgia we are all frozen on our taxes for 2024, so we’re very protected in Georgia for the next year. We’ll be flat to this year in our taxes next year. We work hard on the taxes, and we’ve been successful at keeping those at moderate levels.
I appreciate that information. I know last time we were talking about some of the efficiencies of other line items. The unit turns by us providing our maintenance staff with sprayers so that we don’t have to respray and hire an outside contractor to repaint an entire unit just to touch up a few spots. How are those types of expenses, what I call more of the controllable side? How are those tracking?
Those are tracking well. We’ve rolled out a purchase order program. It’s a little bit of a manual process now while we implement the new technology, which is a big undertaking. Part of that technology is great because our maintenance teams will have a catalog to order from. We’ll know exactly what they’re paying for every part because that’s the only way they can buy them. All of our vendors that agree to be in this catalog agree to the pricing. It’s a great way to control those expenses. We’re in the process of getting that fully rolled out. In the meantime, we’re operating under a manual purchase order process, where the asset management team approves any expenses that will be over budget.
Then the SVP of operations from the Birchstone team approves anything that’s within 75% of the budget. Sometimes you have to go over budget on an individual line item, of course, but that way we’re at least monitoring it to make sure that the expense is warranted. We can ask questions. Is there another way to do this? All of these programs are intended to try to tighten that expense growth as much as they can, fighting the inflation that everyone is seeing.
I appreciate that information. As you own roughly 13,000 units, give or take, and you have 400 employees, there are certain systems that used to work that need to be revised as we continue to scale. I love hearing some of those details. And finally, I would love to hear the changes and what we’re doing, whether it be the details of the leasing, the maintenance side, or even the asset management side, to continue to drive value in our portfolio in this uncertain economic time.
I think that we’ve talked a lot about the things that we are doing and some of these steps. Technology’s going to play a huge role in this for us, not only in the purchase order sector that we were just talking about in controlling expenses but also on the leasing side as well. Like I mentioned, we also have the leasing AI tool and the collections AI tool that we’re rolling out and testing. The other big thing is we’ve always focused on customer service, but we’re really starting to hone in. We launched a system called J Turner Research, which has ORA scores or online reputation assessments. This is something that the industry really measures and uses. Now that we have this great tracking mechanism, we are able to come up with action plans and effectuate actions that will improve those scores because we know that going into a softer market, retention is very, very important.
We know that these customer service initiatives are even more important than we’ve always given them credence for. We’re really working on fine-tuning that and making sure that our residents feel a connection with our teams and with each other on each site. We’re evaluating lots of programs, but these customer service action plans that the teams are providing ask “how do we improve?” Even at the properties with some of the highest scores in the country industry-wide, how can we still improve that feeling? Even if the residents are really happy, how can we make it even that much better so that when we do give them a 5% renewal increase in a market where nobody else is getting increases they still want to stay? That’s ultimately the goal that will drive positive revenue at the end of the day.
Yeah, we’re seeing it on the investor relations side. It’s always about keeping our current customers happy, whether those customers are our investors, clients, tenants, or residents. It just tends to be a win-win. I greatly appreciate all your time and insights as always, Traci, and thank you so much for joining me tonight.
Article Investor Feature: Washington State University Basketball Coach Embodies the Ashcroft Team Spirit
June 29, 2023
“I feel like I’m on a team, but I’m a silent partner––and that is important to me.”
As the associate head coach for men’s basketball at Washington State University, Jim Shaw knows what it means to invest in the future. For more than thirty years, he has guided and mentored young men on and off the court. His demanding job, constant travel, and reflection on his ideal retirement have all inspired Jim to invest in his own future.
Putting Landlord Duties on the Bench
“My dad was a landowner and so I’ve been around investment,” says Jim of his early exposure to earning multiple streams of income. “As I progressed in my career, I looked for ways to set up passive income. I started out with rental homes, which worked really well because we bought them at a time when the housing market had almost collapsed in 2008. But with my full-time career, I discovered that it’s hard to be a long-distance landlord.”
Luckily, Jim’s son-in-law introduced him to the concept of real estate syndication, opening a new potential for passive income that is truly hands-off. “I’ve slowly weaned my way out of the landlord game and into this one,” he explains. After bonding with Joe Fairless over their ties to The Big 12, and conducting some independent research, Jim decided to give Ashcroft a shot. He’s now been with Ashcroft for over five years.
Jim’s Investment Playbook
In addition to looking for five percent or greater returns, Jim employs a ‘worst-case-scenario’ rule of thumb for investing. “I want to make sure that I can afford the worst-case scenario. In this case, people are always going to need a place to live. Interest rates going up affects everybody and everything; but at the same time, the rental market should stay strong because less people can buy homes. Evaluating the worst case is great because everybody feels good when the best-case scenario happens instead.”
Jim is hoping to stack up some of those best-case scenarios to pad his future retirement. “What I’d like in the long-term is plenty of discretionary income so that when I retire, I’m not just relying on social security; I should have two or three other income streams.” And he’s worked out a clever strategy to maximize the benefits of his role until he gets there. “Once you hit age 50 and you’re a state employee, there are a lot of ways you can pre-tax your dollars,” says Jim. “I max everything––then I use the cushion from Ashcroft to make sure I have enough monthly income.”
Finding Balance Amidst COVID and the Current Market
A stellar coach and strategist, Jim is quickly adapts to change and thinking one step ahead. “I made the decision to sell my rental properties based on the circumstances surrounding the pandemic. I like balance in most areas, and it became really unbalanced to be a landlord because you just didn’t have a lot of levers to continue your income stream during the crisis. And I don’t have time right now to really focus on my investments, so that made the decision to sell simpler.”
“With Ashcroft, I like the fact that I don’t have to put a tremendous amount of time into it. I still have a very demanding career. I like being the silent partner and letting the experts be the experts.”
In a tumultuous post-COVID world, Jim trusts Ashcroft to navigate the changing tides and still deliver. “There are challenges in the investment world right now with interest rates, but the reality (in my opinion) is interest rates probably won’t come back down. I think they’re getting close to leveling out. We got unbalanced for a while: zero is unbalanced as it essentially gives money away. I think ultimately, they’ve come back to a balance point. From a strategy standpoint, I’ll let the experts figure out what the new normal is going to be and how we can still achieve our goals financially.”
Taking Lessons from the Court into Investing
Having the Ashcroft team on hand to offer regular communication, a solid action plan, and a high level of return gives Jim the space to focus on the court. In fact, his role as a coach reminds Jim of what he likes most about Ashcroft. “In coaching you try to eliminate mistakes and maximize what you control. You’re dealing with 18 to 22-year olds. If you can get them to have a consistent attitude and a consistent work ethic, then you can form a unified personality and common goals. With Ashcroft, I feel like I’m on a team, but I’m a silent partner––and that is important to me. Let the experts be the experts and try to have a good attitude.”
Read the June Issue of The Monthly Distribution here.
The benefits of investing in real estate are vast. The most obvious is the opportunity to generate passive income through contractual and consistent rental payments, but this is just one of many benefits to consider.
Real estate serves as a hedge against inflation. How? Because historical data shows real estate values increasing at a rate that has outpaced inflation. To put it into perspective, over the last 30 years the average sale price of a home in the U.S. increased by nearly 250%.
Diversification is a portfolio goal for almost all investors. When looking at diversification investors evaluate the correlation between investments. Private real estate is a key diversifier because over the last 20 years it has been lowly correlated to both stocks and bonds.
Investing in private real estate via a private placement or managed real estate fund provides a hands-off way to generate passive income without extensive knowledge of housing markets, construction management, property management, and other needed skills that occupy your time and energy. Investing in private placement funds allows you to tap into the expertise and deep relationships of the sponsor and operator.
Real Estate as an Investment
Investing in real estate can be a profitable and secure way to create wealth. Real estate investments are a smart way to balance your portfolio, providing both cash flow and stability.
In times of market volatility, real estate remains a resilient investment option, particularly multifamily properties. Looking at the five recessions over the past 40 years, multifamily has consistently outperformed other commercial real estate sectors because of a nationwide millennial shift towards renting, stable and consistent cash flow, and its tendency to appreciate over time. Multifamily rents were the most resilient and their post-recession rent growth far outpaced any other property type.
For the remainder of 2023, multifamily housing is expected to see above-average performance with rent growth and stabilized vacancy rates lower than they have been in the past several months. Housing fundamentals are expected to remain strong, with occupancy rates projected to hover between 94-95%, rent collections hitting a 3-year high in March 2023 (at 96.4%), and projected national average rent growth of 4%.
This trend can be attributed to various factors, such as changing lifestyle preferences and the rising cost of home ownership. The increased demand, particularly for multifamily properties, has contributed to the sector’s strong performance.
Cash flow is a critical factor contributing to the resilience of multifamily real estate. Rents are contractual, predictable, and units can be turned over easily and re-leased in strong markets to ensure a steady cash flow year over year. The consistent income generated from rents serves as a hedge against market volatility and provides investors a stable source of income.
Finally, multifamily real estate values have increased, or appreciated, over time, making it more resilient to economic downturns relative to other commercial property types. This resilience can be attributed to the basic need for shelter, regardless of the state of the economy. As a result, multifamily properties tend to hold their value during recessions and recover more quickly when the economy rebounds.
Real Estate for Portfolio Diversification
The intent of diversification is to minimize the impact of underperformance in any single investment and avoid concentrated exposure to market fluctuations within any individual asset class.
Diversifying into private real estate investments can lead to multiple cash flow streams, lower risk, and steady appreciation for investors given its low correlation to other major asset classes.
By incorporating multifamily real estate into their portfolios, investors can mitigate the effects of market volatility and reduce their overall exposure to any one type of risk.
Real Estate Investing to Achieve Financial Independence
Investing in property is one of the most popular real assets you can acquire. There’s a reason why many successful investors have real estate in their portfolio – it’s a tangible way to accumulate wealth in a fixed asset. Real estate is categorized as a “hard asset” because it’s a tangible asset, meaning that you can touch it physically. Hard assets will never disappear, think land, and as such they tend to carry far lower risk than other financial assets.
With a value-add strategy you are forcing appreciation by increasing rents and net operating income. Real estate investors describe this increase in property prices and equity as leverage. You can “leverage” the equity or gains earned once you exit your private placement investments and compound your returns by reinvesting over and over again to continue growing your wealth.
By growing your wealth, you are increasing your investable assets. When you have enough investable assets that are generating passive income, you may reach a stage where you have more passive income than you are getting from your job. At this stage, you are now financially free!
Investing in Ashcroft Capital’s Value-Add Fund III
Investing in Ashcroft Capital’s Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) is a great way to diversify your portfolio and increase your returns. The fund invests in 20–30-year-old Class B multifamily properties that have the potential for significant value-add opportunities.
Investing with Ashcroft Capital, as opposed to investing on your own, offers several key benefits. Investors have access to a team of experienced professionals who possess in-depth knowledge of the real estate market with a track record of executing against a value-add business plan. This expertise allows investors to benefit from the fund’s strategic decision-making and risk-management capabilities. For example, we conduct a:
144-point Due Diligence Inspection and complete review of all titles and zoning for our properties. This includes a third-party report and property inspections.
38-point on-site evaluation and inspection, including a walk-through of all units, review of maintenance logs, and staff interviews.
24-point financial analysis, including on-site lease audits, review of all financial statements, occupancy histories, and cash flow audits.
The AVAF3 offers a distinct advantage over traditional real estate syndications by investing in multiple deals rather than a single property, allowing investors to benefit from the diversification and risk mitigation that comes with a portfolio of assets. By investing in multiple properties, the AVAF3 can take advantage of various market dynamics and opportunities, delivering stronger overall performance and reduced risk for investors.
Ashcroft Capital’s value-add strategy provides additional protection and generates stronger results through targeted improvements to the properties in its portfolio. By focusing on underperforming assets with significant potential for enhancement, we can unlock value by making strategic capital improvements and implementing effective property management. This approach increases the property’s NOI and overall value, strengthening its competitive position in the market. This makes it more attractive to potential renters and better able to withstand market fluctuations.
We have a strong reputation in the real estate investment industry, boasting more than 3,000 investors, of which 65% are repeat investors. This level of trust and loyalty reflects our performance and commitment to delivering value to our investors. We manage 37 communities across Texas, Florida, and Georgia, and our performance is demonstrated through our 32% Net Operating Income (NOI) growth, 25.7% Annual Cash on Cash Return, and 22.7% Limited Partner (LP) Internal Rate of Return.
By choosing to invest with a fund like AVAF3, investors can benefit from the expertise, diversification, and value-add strategy that Ashcroft Capital provides, leading to stronger returns and a more resilient investment portfolio.
U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Average Sales Price of Houses Sold for the United
States [ASPUS]. fred.stlouisfed.org™. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2023 from https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/ASPUS
Supply is likely to outstrip demand in 2023, cbre.com™. (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2023, from https://www.cbre.com/insights/books/us-real-estate-market-outlook-2023/multifamily
Why Real Estate Is the Best Long-Term Investment. MoneyCheck. Retrieved May 10, 2023 from https://moneycheck.com/real-estatelon
Article Making Sense of It All: The Housing Affordability Crisis and the Multifamily Market
June 22, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Pondering that quote and searching for a corresponding rhyming verse in US market history, I, like many others, am at a loss. The environment we are seeing right now is unique in the history of global finance and is uncharted territory for both large and small investors. On the one hand, markets seem especially resilient, with major US indices like the S&P 500 and NASDAQ recently reaching their highest levels in 14 months  and unemployment numbers holding at their lowest levels in the past 20 years .
On the other hand, the phrases “incoming recession,” “stubborn inflation,” and “rising interest rates” come up as often as “bull market” and “tremendous growth.” It’s downright confusing, from economics PhDs trying to explain it to Main Street investors trying to navigate it on their own. Where can you put your capital in a market like this and still sleep comfortably at night? I am a firm believer in investing in things that are essential to people’s lives, like affordable housing, and I think there are opportunities to capitalize during these times if you know where to look. Let’s explore together the different forces driving today’s market and try to make sense of them.
Real Wage Growth and the Embattled Consumer
The May 2023 US CPI data came in at +4.0% year over year , halving the +8.0% report from May 2022  and being hailed by policymakers as another signal that the battle against inflation is gaining positive ground. On the heels of that news, I recently asked a large group of investors if they felt falling inflation was trickling down to their respective households and was met with a resounding “no.” I am sure many who are reading this will agree: our money still feels stretched thin. Although inflation may be falling, as measured by a highly complicated and potentially flawed formula, most investors aren’t experiencing any relief. To make matters worse, real wages, loosely defined as wages adjusted for inflation , have fallen in 25 of the past 26 consecutive months , resulting in a US consumer savings rate roughly half of its average over the past decade  and the addition of $250 million in household credit card debt .
The Housing Shortage That Won’t Quit
If you’ve ever purchased a home, you’ve probably heard of the term “housing inventory.” This is the measure of homes currently for sale in any market and is typically measured in months of sales available at the current pace. I inquired with my realtor about the current inventory in Collin County, Texas (population estimated at 1.2 million and growing; , and was told it has dropped by 12% from May 2022. It feels like every time I see a home for sale in my area it is akin to discovering a four-leaf clover. Further, the current national housing inventory would last only three months, far below the average over the past decade. Redfin estimates there are 39% fewer homes for sale than before the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting that existing homeowners with a low fixed-rate mortgage aren’t leaving willingly (10). The lack of inventory combined with the shortage of housing creates an interesting dilemma. It most certainly means that homebuilders are racing to shore up that shortage and begin new housing construction, but new construction takes time, and potential homeowners are still staring down a 7% mortgage rate.
Cost to Rent vs. (High) Cost to Own
Paulina Cachero of Bloomberg recently reported that “the buy-to-rent premium hasn’t been this big since 2006, at the peak of the housing bubble” . Realtor.com found that across the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US, an average renter pays about 40% less per month than a first-time homeowner, based on asking rents and monthly mortgage payments . It’s no wonder that nationwide mortgage applications dropped to a 28-year low only three months ago .
This chart from the National Association of Home Builders  details the contrast between the median sales price of an average home in the US against the Home Affordability Index from 2016 to the first quarter of 2023. The trend is moving in the right direction in Q1, but is it enough to move people toward home ownership? Are we in a housing affordability crisis right now? As the old saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it just may be a duck.”
The Long and Now the Short
I realize I dumped a lot of data on you just now, but I did it to make a few points. First, the typical US consumer buying power is much weaker than at any time in recent history. On average, consumers have less purchasing power, lower savings, and more debt than the generations that preceded them. This is not a good formula for those wanting to buy a home. Second, buying a home is more expensive than most consumers can afford. Low inventories have caused a rise in home values to levels that most people cannot comfortably stomach. Combined with 30-year fixed mortgage rates at 7%, most are choosing another path. Third, the contrast between the cost of home ownership and renting is unusually wide, and consumers have taken notice. Many who had planned to own a home one day have decided that being a renter has many lifestyle advantages that ownership does not. According to a report from the National Multifamily Council, by 2035 the US will still be 4.3 million apartments short of meeting the demand for affordable housing .
Focusing on Necessity and Demand
Nothing in the world of investing is a certainty, but the data suggests that the demand for apartment living will remain elevated for years to come. At Ashcroft Capital we buy affordable class B apartments in high-growth markets with diversified economies and then elevate them with our value-add strategy. Our limited partners have been watching us execute this model for years and have continued to invest despite rapid changes in borrowing costs. Higher interest rates have compressed the value of our target properties, creating outstanding opportunities to acquire high-demand cash-flowing assets at an attractive discount. The Ashcroft Value Add III fund is in the process of buying our second and third properties in the fund in submarkets we believe have significant running room, and we would love to tell you more. Affordable housing is a human necessity and investing with a knowledgeable syndicator in high-demand checks many of the boxes. So does this period in market history ”rhyme” with another? Not likely, but it’s possible a new verse is being written that will provide clues for future generations.
Evans, Brian, and Kim, Hakyung, “S&P 500, Nasdaq rally for sixth straight day as traders hope Fed’s rate-hiking cycle is nearly over: Live updates” CNBC, 15 June, 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/14/stock-market-today-live-updates.html.
“Consumer Price Index Summary” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 June, 2023, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm#:~:text=(ET)%20Tuesday%2C%20June%2013,a%20seasonally%20adjusted%20basis%2C%20after.
“Consumer Price Index – May 2022” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 June, 2023, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_06102022.pdf.
“Real Wage” United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, https://archive.unescwa.org/real-wage.
Bilello, Charlie (@charliebilello). “US wages outpaced inflation on a YoY basis in May by 0.2%, ending the ignominious streak of 25 consecutive months of negative real wage growth. Great to see, hopefully continues.” Twitter 13 June, 2023, 9:19 AM, https://twitter.com/charliebilello/status/1668608946242830338.”
Waters, Carlos, “Americans are saving far less than normal in 2023. Here’s why” CNBC, 27 April, 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/27/us-personal-savings-rate-falls-near-record-low-as-consumers-spend.html.
Tedder, Michael, “Here’s How Much Americans Owe In Credit Card Debt” The Street, 2 June, 2023, https://www.thestreet.com/money/heres-how-much-americans-owe-in-credit-card-debt.
“Collin County Profile” The County Information Program, Texas Association of Counties, 2023, https://txcip.org/tac/census/profile.php?FIPS=48085.
Rosen, Phil, “Housing market inventory keeps declining and that’s bad news for homebuyers” Insider, 20 June, 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-market-inventory-real-estate-investing-property-mortgage-rates-buyers-2023-6.
Cachero, Paulina, “Buy-or-Rent Premium Is Highest Since 2006 Housing Bubble” Bloomberg, 24 March, 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-24/should-i-buy-a-home-mortgage-premium-vs-renting-is-highest-since-2006#xj4y7vzkg.
Rosen, Phil, “Housing market inventory keeps declining and that’s bad news for homebuyers” Insider, 20 June, 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-market-inventory-real-estate-investing-property-mortgage-rates-buyers-2023-6.
Lorsch, Emily, “Rent or buy? Here’s how to make that decision in the current real estate market” CNBC, 26 April, 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/26/rent-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide-in-the-current-real-estate-market.html.
“NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)” National Association of Home Builders, 2023, https://www.nahb.org/news-and-economics/housing-economics/indices/housing-opportunity-index?mf_ct_campaign=yahoo-synd-feed.
“Apartment Supply Shortage” National Multifamily Housing Council, 2023, https://www.nmhc.org/industry-topics/affordable-housing/apartment-supply-shortage.
Article The Importance of Time, Family, and Peace of Mind: How Ashcroft Capital Supports Investor Well-Being
June 8, 2023
By: Evan Polaski, Investor Relations Managing Director
In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of striking a balance among our professional, personal, and financial lives cannot be overstated.
Investing in multifamily real estate can be a challenging, yet rewarding pursuit. It allows investors more time to focus on what matters most: pursuing passions, spending time with loved ones, and maintaining their overall health and well-being. In addition to the potential for financial growth, multifamily real estate investing can provide investors with peace of mind and the opportunity to live a more balanced, fulfilling life.
The Value of Time in the Life of an Investor
Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have. It is a finite resource, and how we choose to allocate time significantly impacts our overall happiness and quality of life. People who get outside, eat healthy, practice mindfulness, and engage in creative activities (i.e. painting or writing) experience increased positive emotions and decreased negative emotions.1 When we are passionate about the activities we engage in, we feel happier, more fulfilled, and more purposeful.
But to find time and prioritize passions, investors need to feel secure in their investment strategy. When investing with Ashcroft Capital, you can be assured that your investments are managed by a team of seasoned professionals. Together with our dedicated property management company, Birchstone Residential, we draw upon the experiences of our over 300 employees. Our team knows how to maximize the returns on our properties, while creating superior living spaces for our tenants, allowing our investors to realize their financial goals. The time you would otherwise spend actively managing assets can be spent pursuing passions and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.
Alleviating Investment Fears for Overall Well-Being
The investing world can be complex and intimidating, often causing investors to experience fear and anxiety. This is especially true when markets are volatile or unpredictable. Investing, by nature, comes with a certain degree of risk and uncertainty. Many investors no longerwant to rely solely on the stockmarket, precious metals, and cryptocurrency, yet 49 percent of investors do not feel confident making investment decisions, and 78 percent do not feel they are on the right savings path.2
However, Ashcroft Capital aims to alleviate these fears by utilizing our expertise and experience in the multifamily real estate market. By carefully analyzing each potential investment and focusing on properties with strong fundamentals, Ashcroft Capital minimizes risk and provides investors with peace of mind. Furthermore, our diversification strategy ensures that investors’ portfolios are not overly concentrated on a single property or market.
You can invest confidently, knowing that experts in the field have meticulously crafted our investment strategies. Our commitment to transparency, open communication, and education helps ease these fears by ensuring that you are always informed about the performance of your investments and the strategies being employed.
Strengthening Family Bonds Through Smart Investing
Family is the cornerstone of our lives, and spending quality time with family is essential for our well-being. Research also indicates that healthy relationships, regular exercise, and an active, passionate lifestyle can help you maintain a healthy brain as you age.3
Investing in multifamily real estate with Ashcroft Capital provides the potential for financial growth and creates opportunities for investors to spend more quality time with their families. This peace of mind allows you to be fully present with your family and enjoy life’s priceless moments on family vacations, shared experiences, and moments that strengthen family bonds.
So, take that trip! After all, studies show that men and women who travel twice a year significantly lower their risk of having a heart attack. Men who don’t take an annual vacation have a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease. Traveling relieves stress, enhances creativity, and boosts happiness and satisfaction.4
Enhancing Work-Life Balance Through Passive Income Generation
One of the most significant advantages of investing in multifamily real estate is the potential for passive income generation. This income stream allows investors to maintain their desired lifestyle without the need to work additional hours or seek supplementary employment. As a result, they can enjoy a better work-life balance, which has been linked to improved mental and emotional well-being.
Ashcroft Capital’s multifamily investment offerings are designed to provide investors with opportunities for passive income, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their lives, such as personal interests, hobbies, and spending quality time with friends and family. Take that extra time and get out in Mother Nature! Spending 120 minutes in nature per week boosts your mental and physical health, promotes better breathing, improved sleep, boosted immune function, and reduced depression symptoms.5
The Connection Between Financial Health and Overall Wellness
Financial health is a crucial component of overall wellness. When investors feel secure in their financial future, they are more likely to experience reduced stress, increased happiness, and improved physical health. By providing opportunities for passive income and long-term wealth creation, multifamily real estate investment can contribute significantly to an investor’s financial health and overall wellness.
Ashcroft Capital understands this connection and is dedicated to helping investors achieve financial success by carefully analyzing each investment opportunity. We do this by focusing on properties with strong fundamentals and potential for appreciation, ensuring that investors enjoy the benefits of a well-performing portfolio.
The Ashcroft Capital Advantage: A Partner in Health and Wellness
Through careful investment selection, diversification, and passive income generation, Ashcroft Capital helps investors create a well-rounded portfolio that supports their well-being in various areas of life. The Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) is structured so that investments are allocated across multiple properties, creating diversified sources of return.
AVAF3 is for accredited investors interested in diversifying their retirement and wealth portfolios into multifamily real estate. Investors can invest in Class A and/or Class B Limited Partnership Interests. The AVAF3 is targeting 3-6 multifamily properties throughout the Sunbelt region with an anticipated lifespan of 5-7 years.
Investing in multifamily real estate with Ashcroft Capital can be a powerful way to enhance one’s health and wellness. By providing opportunities for financial growth, stress reduction, and improved work-life balance, Ashcroft Capital demonstrates its commitment to supporting the overall well-being of its investors. As a partner in this journey, Ashcroft Capital is dedicated to helping investors thrive both financially and personally, ensuring a better quality of life for years to come.
Article Investor Feature: Single Mom and Biotech Executive Sets Herself Up for Early Retirement and Worldwide Adventure
June 6, 2023
“I’m trying to get to the level of Job-Optional.”
Jennifer Skeen knows a lot about hard work. She worked multiple jobs for most of her life, paid her own college tuition, and even saved enough to buy her first townhouse after graduation.
A molecular genetics and biochemistry expert by training, Jen is now an executive leader in biotechnology and a single mother of two daughters.
If the job description sounds exhausting, that’s because it is. For Jen, the demands of her role and the unpredictability of her industry led her down the path to real estate investment in hope of designing a less stressful future. “It’s always nice to have a second stream of income. Biotech is pretty volatile. Even the bigger companies restructure frequently, so jobs are never secure. Being in a higher-paid category, it’s a huge hit when you lose your income. Knowing if that happens I have a little bit coming in to bridge the gap gives me a safety blanket.”
The Science of Building Passive Income
Jen started investing seven years ago after her divorce, which she calls a difficult financial lesson. But she quickly dove in with scientific rigor, learning about FIRE (financial independence and retiring early) and the investment types that could help her reach her goals.
At an Ashcroft event in San Diego, where Jen lives and works, she met investors who had been through a full turn and noticed, “They were all really happy.” And that’s not all that gave her comfort: “Being new to this investment space, it can be a little nerve-wracking that you’re making the wrong call. But the Ashcroft name is really well respected, the people are public––talking at conferences; they have their own podcast. They’re not going to disappear and take your money. There’s a level of security and comfort that they have your best interest in mind. We’re all in it together to make a little money if we can, in an ethical way.”
Jen had joined a publicly traded company at that time, and the compensation package inspired her to find ways to not just save but invest her money. Like many new investors, Jen started out with single family rental homes, purchasing four new-construction properties in Ft. Worth, and an additional two in Florida. However, she soon discovered the stresses of remote property management and decided to sell the homes in Texas.
“Passive! I want to be passive. I’m 46 and I want to retire in about four years with a comfortable living.”
Jen made the decision to roll the proceeds into a deal with Ashcroft. “It was a hassle for an out-of-state investor, and the market was popping, so I decided I would just cash in. Instead of flipping them into a 1031 exchange so I would reduce my taxes, I decided to put the money toward a passive investment with Ashcroft, where I could take advantage of accelerated depreciation to help with taxes. Ashcroft is a really reputable company and well-known in the investment community, so I felt really comfortable.”
Detailing her thinking, Jen explains, “I split apart two bonuses, and I wanted to put it somewhere I wouldn’t touch it for a while so I could grow it. I put $25k into Eagle Crest and $25k in the Vista properties.” Jen also recently added to her previous investments in the Value Add Funds II and III. “It’s not just one property, so I like the diversification of multiple properties there. And they also have this new waterfall based on how much you put in, plus a new 10% kicker on monthly distributions.”
“It’s nice to see that they’re actively working to maintain and create additional value for investors. I have a ton of trust in the group.”
Hard work pays
All of Jen’s efforts are building toward a carefully engineered plan for a well-deserved early retirement. Regarding her recent investments, Jen says she’s, “using them in preparation for cashflow. When my kids are out of high school and I hit 51 or 52, I’m going to sell everything and travel the world! And I use the current funds I receive to pay down mortgages on my rental properties. That way, that additional cash flow will hit in about five years.”
Investing isn’t the only thing Jen has down to a science. She has developed a useful ‘life hack’ that brings her financial, work, social, and personal life together in one view. “I have a ‘Master Control’ spreadsheet with dozens of tabs that I review monthly with net worth, account balances, spending by category, travel rewards points, upcoming vacation planning, rental property performance, retirement planning, doctor contacts for the family, and a bucket travel list of over a 100 places and activities that I want to accomplish. A guiding principle in my personal [sic] and professional life is to have one central source of truth and where I can find critical information.”
It’s no surprise that Jen has found herself setting strategy and guiding teams, but she’s ready for a change of pace. “I’ve always been in a leadership role, so I have corporate responsibility and team responsibility. I’m always high-level analytical, and it doesn’t shut down when you go on vacation, so I’m really looking forward to being able to switch off that level of responsibility and do things I want to do. My goal is to take a two-year travel sabbatical and figure out what the next chapter is. I’ll have the time to figure out what I want to do next instead of what I have to do next.”
Ever the methodical scientist, Jen has created a chart of over 200 travel destinations she hopes to explore. In retirement, Jen would also like to help other single women explore the world of investment. “None of us got the education––we don’t even know where to start. We don’t know the language because the lexicon is so specific: what is compound interest, arbitrage, tax deferrals.”
With Jennifer Skeen on the case, we have no doubt the next generation of female investors are in good hands.
Photographed below, Jennifer Skeen and daughters Kendall and Autumn Skeen
Article Navigating Turbulent Times to Protect Your Investment
May 30, 2023
By: Joe Fairless, Co-Founder and Partner & Frank Roessler, Co-Founder and CEO
Since its inception, one of the founding principles of Ashcroft Capital LLC. has been to preserve investor’s capital. With the Fed’s mandate to bring inflation under control, the ensuing interest rate hikes over the last 12 months have pushed the financial markets to the brink, adding significant uncertainty to the overall market. But with this uncertainty comes opportunity.
Ashcroft holds its accounts with First Republic Bank. Immediately following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, we had implemented an Insured Cash Sweep on all accounts, meaning if any account exceeds the FDIC insurance limit of $250,000, the excess is automatically swept into a new account. This keeps all balances fully insured.
Historically, Ashcroft has utilized a combination of agency loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and private loans through strong relationship lenders. We continue to grow these relationships and expand our network of lenders.
It is through our strong relationships and track record that we are able to create additional flexibility in our lending terms.
Interest Rate Exposure
Ashcroft has historically utilized both floating rate and fixed rate financing, based on the overall business plan of each asset. Our floating rate loans have been impacted by the interest rate rises over the last year. We have hit our caps across our portfolio. Depending on the assumptions going into each deal, this has had varying impacts on the asset.
In addition to the impact on current interest expense, the increase in interest rates has caused our interest rate caps to cost much more at expiration. Across our portfolio, we have interest rate caps expiring anywhere from this summer through early 2025. We are constantly monitoring the various factors that affect the rate cap pricing, primarily the forward curve. We are updating the capital needs in our budgets and reforecasts on a monthly basis in an effort to maintain adequate liquidity within each offering as these caps expire.
Going forward, we are going to continue matching our loan products with the business plan for each asset. This means we will continue to seek both agency loans and private loans. We are in regular communication with our relationship lenders in order to continue to find the best available lending product to minimize risk while maximizing our returns for investors.
Refinancing and Dispositions
A silver lining in all the volatility in the market is: demand for quality multifamily assets remains high, keeping strong upward pressure on valuations. While cap rates have increased with the increase in interest rates, the overall demand remains high. Well-located, strong performing assets within in-demand metro areas are continuing to see interest.
At Ashcroft, we are seeing deals continue to trade at cap rates below 5% due to the strong overall fundamentals of multifamily in these markets. This has expanded from deals trading in the 2% range 18 months ago, and still falls in line with our projected exit cap rates that we initially modeled across our portfolio.
We are exploring strategic refinances and possible sales, where we can generate strong returns. Both of these options rely on our continued focus to drive Net Operating Income (NOI) at the asset level, as higher NOI will create higher refinance proceeds and sale proceeds.
As we continue to raise for the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (“AVAF3”), we believe we are in a strong position to acquire assets at relative discounts compared to 12 months ago. That being said, the acquisition market is still relatively quiet. This is due to a large bid-ask spread, where sellers are still wanting early-2022 prices, while buyers are continually looking to hedge the uncertainty in the capital markets.
Through conversations with both brokers and other operators, there is continued strong demand, but many buyers, like Ashcroft, are being patient and prudent. Once we see interest rates level off, and likely some levels of distress entering the market for those owners that did not hedge their interest rate exposure, we anticipate more transaction volume to come back to market. With both sellers putting assets to market with reasonable pricing, and buyers having better understanding of where interest rates will be to more confidently underwrite their purchases.
A large reason for the continued strong demand of multifamily assets is the strong underlying fundamentals that continue to aid our operations. This is not to discount the work that Birchstone Residential and our Asset Management team are doing to further drive these results. Birchstone executes the value-add business plan for each Ashcroft property, optimizing financial returns while obtaining high resident satisfaction.
Our NOI is budgeted to stay ahead of projections, even with sizeable increases in several of our expense items. Specifically, payroll and insurance are ahead of proforma. COVID created a strong upward pressure on payroll and the strong job market has continued to drive salaries faster than projected for quality candidates. On the insurance side, providers are reassessing their risk profiles and, across the industry, pushing large premium increases. However, on the remaining operating line items, our team has done a great job holding those expenses close to, if not below budget. We continue to strive for further operational efficiencies, such as outfitting our maintenance teams with paint sprayers to allow for easier paint touch-ups at turn over, versus a full repaint, minimizing turnover costs.
Overall, we continue to remain conservative in our current budgets for all of our assets. The Fed has raised rates at a faster pace than any previous round of rate hikes in the past 30 years. We are coming off a global pandemic which had created first its own challenges, followed by a robust expansion. At the end of the day, we remain confident in our business plan and long-term outlook for both our existing portfolio and future acquisitions. We continue to make strides to further hedge our risks across the portfolio. This started with bringing our management in-house in 2021 and continues through diversifying our geographic concentration, lender and banking relationships, and ultimately exit strategies for our portfolio. We are starting to see signs of light, with the slowing of rate hikes, but we are still planning that at least one, if not two more hikes are coming in the upcoming Fed meetings. We will continue to monitor our capital position for each of our assets and make decisions in line with one of our primary principles: capital preservation for our investors.
Article Investment Criteria and Current Markets We Are Researching
May 25, 2023
By: Ryan Wynkoop, Investor Relations Manager
A real estate investment sponsor’s success is contingent on having both a strong business plan and strategy to market. This will serve as a guide throughout acquisitions and the approach to the real estate asset thereafter. It will also dictate how a sponsor generates their value and investor returns.
Ashcroft Capital’s business plan is to acquire multifamily assets that present the opportunity to drive returns through improvement—known as the value-add method. With this in mind, we target underperforming or distressed Class B properties that are well maintained and occupied, with an average life span of 20 years. Applying selective upgrades to these property types quickly brings the asset back to the market standard. This improvement process typically takes us around three to five years to execute. The process is complete when we begin to see returns in the property income that are equal to or exceed our projections.
In addition, we target properties with over 200 units, knowing that our target takeout buyer after improvements are completed is an institutional level buyer who targets this size and scale of properties for acquisition. We also focus on strong suburban submarkets outside top-tier cities where the most demand and focused growth has been, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional investment criteria include the following:
– Strong developing suburban submarkets outside of top-tier cities, particularly in the southeast
– “Garden style” construction—typically two to four stories, with surface parking lots and robust amenity offerings—in high demand by renters
– Properties capable of producing $20 million to $150 million in total capitalization per property
CURRENT MARKETS WE ARE RESEARCHING
Ashcroft Capital’s overall portfolio has a strong presence in a number of submarkets throughout the Sunbelt such as Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. Our latest acquisition for the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We have also identified the second and third properties for the AVAF3 in Florida’s strongest markets—Sarasota Springs and Coconut Creek.
We are currently researching several new markets throughout the southeast that we flagged as potential expansion markets for acquisitions.
Those markets include, but are not limited to, the following:
– San Antonio and Austin, Texas
– Charlotte and Raleigh–Durham, North Carolina
– Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina
– Nashville, Tennessee
Ashcroft uses a thorough due diligence process when reviewing potential markets. We assess a multitude of regional factors to determine the level of opportunity for investment in these markets. There are a number of factors driving demand for the foreseeable future. We have found that there is inward migration and positive population growth in these markets, with a lack of housing supply. Research findings also established that economic conditions for growth are robust in these markets. Specifically, there has been onshoring of many industrial, manufacturing, and logistics jobs. In addition, baby boomers are increasingly choosing these markets for relocation and retirement. The likely cause of this migration is the discernibly cheaper cost of living found in the southeast in the face of nationwide inflationary pressures.
Article Lessons from The Oracle: A Window of Opportunity
May 23, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
In the first weekend of May, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger hosted Berkshire Hathaway’s highly anticipated Annual Shareholders Festival in Omaha, Nebraska. I always pay attention to this meeting because, in addition to its unprecedented history of success, I’m impressed by Berkshire’s consistent adherence to its fundamental principles of investing. I’ve read several of Buffett’s books, and the wisdom from the “Oracle of Omaha” always helps to eliminate the outside noise and recenter my focus. It would be hard to not classify our current environment as “noisy” with bank failures, rising interest rates, possible de-dollarization, debt ceiling pressure, and the prospect of a global economic downturn. Needless to say, I decided to read his words again and found that they are just as insightful and useful as I remember years ago. I’m sharing three quotes that I think are especially relevant to multifamily investors and Ashcroft Capital.
“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”
First recorded in Forbes magazine in 1986, this is quite possibly Buffett’s most famous quote, and for good reason (1). However, “winning by not losing” is easier said than done. History has a nagging way of repeating itself and inflicting pain on those who do not learn their lessons the first time. During bull markets, investors tend to become less cautious, and even downright reckless, with capital while chasing high returns. At Ashcroft Capital, our first and foremost goal is capital preservation, and we created our due diligence and underwriting standards to align with that goal. We purchase, operate, and renovate Class B properties in markets with strong fundamentals, which we believe gives us the best chance to ride out unfavorable economic cycles. Statistics from CBRE revealed that during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008–2009, Class B properties experienced a delayed drop in revenue and less revenue loss than Class A and Class C properties did. Class B properties also rebounded to their pre-recession peak faster than the other classes did (2). In today’s housing market, affordable Class B apartment properties in areas of inward migration are experiencing high occupancy and steady demand. We are encouraged by the positioning of our portfolio with respect to Buffett’s first two rules.
“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing” (4).
It’s no secret the multifamily space has been under more pressure in 2023 than originally predicted. You may have seen the news that a Dallas-based investment firm was recently forced to foreclose on 3,200 multifamily units in the Houston, Texas, area. Rising borrowing costs and the inability to meet those costs with cash flow ultimately cost its investors $230 million (3). Ashcroft even has some investors who also participated in that syndication, leaving them blindsided and shell shocked. I am not implying this firm did not know what they were doing, but it is clear the fundamentals of the properties and the measures put in place did not adequately shield their investors’ capital. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but there are basic principles Ashcroft underwrites in each and every deal to protect against these types of scenarios. We underwrite deals conservatively, perform 144-point due diligence on every property, conduct extensive research on our target markets, and buy interest rate caps to protect against a rising interest rate environment. We also force cash flow growth and asset appreciation by adding value to our properties through Birchstone Residential. There are many great capital raisers in this space and some excellent property managers, but few can do both at a high level. This is where Ashcroft sets itself apart. As Buffett also says, “Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre” (4).
“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it” (4).
It is being widely reported that we may be entering a tough period in our economic history. Full recovery from COVID-19 seems to be taking longer than expected, and every industry in every sector is under some sort of pressure. Multifamily syndications are no exception. For example, the impact of higher interest rates makes pricing of multifamily homes harder to predict. However, times like this have historically borne fantastic opportunities for investors. Famed investor Shelby Cullom Davis once said, “You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t realize it at the time” (5). As of mid-May, Ashcroft has been awarded two property deals via a broker with whom we have transacted before. We weren’t the highest bidder, but our strong relationships and ability to execute put us in an advantageous position to place these assets in the Ashcroft Value Add Fund III (the “AVAF3”). Ashcroft feels these properties are well priced and could be highly accretive to our investors, so we will continue to share more details on these properties in the coming weeks. Now, the hard part: getting investors to eliminate the noise, revisit fundamental principles, and take advantage of the situation. When speaking on multifamily investing in today’s environment, Alex Bhathal, executive chairman and managing partner of the investment firm Revitate, said that he “sees continued opportunities ahead to acquire assets at attractive values in a less competitive environment. ‘We believe that the opportunities in 2023 for return are greater than what we have seen in several years’” (6).
Ashcroft Capital is taking on today’s challenges with the goal of coming out stronger on the other side. We underwrite our assets to survive and then thrive through market cycles, and as the wise Mr. Buffett once said, “The best chance to deploy capital is when things are going down” (4). We think we are in a sweet spot in terms of fundamentals and will be able to capitalize on this economic pressure in the AVAF3. Our experience, skill, connections, and track record of success are all there, and we believe time is on our side.
Ashcroft Capital’s Q2 market report’s analysis of current trends makes it clear that fundamentals remain stable in the multifamily market.
Stay up to date on the latest news in the multifamily industry. We are able to draw upon the experiences of over 300 employees to anticipate and address the multifamily market, providing a comprehensive overview of current conditions and future trends. The Q2 Market Report explores inflation, rent increases, cap rates, vacancy rates, and additional challenges our industry is currently faced with.
Read our report here for a thorough analysis of the industry, our outlook, and our plan to stay ahead of market challenges:
Will the Federal Reserve continue to increase the federal funds rate?
How will the recent drop in inflation affect multifamily housing?
What do we anticipate will happen to the vacancy rate?
What are the expectations surrounding cap rates?
How will the cost of owning a home affect multifamily?
Article Common Emotional Investing Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them
May 16, 2023
By: Travis Watts, Director of Investor Education
Deciding how to invest your money can be difficult. We live in an era with access to limitless information at our fingertips. While more information and data help to create transparency, it doesn’t make the decision process less overwhelming or prevent analysis paralysis from occurring. Human beings are emotional by nature, and making important decisions about your wealth can be difficult if you aren’t able to properly recognize and manage your emotions during the decision-making process. The problem arises when emotions cloud your judgment; thus, leading to poor decisions.
A study by MagnifyMoney identifies common emotional mistakes that many investors make:
66 percent of investors have made an impulsive or emotionally-charged decision they later regretted.
47 percent report difficulty keeping emotions out of investing decisions.
37 percent of investors have lost sleep worrying about the stock market.
30 percent have cried over investing.
The good news is that there are ways to avoid these mistakes!
As an investor, when it comes to making decisions about your money, you must be careful. Many investors don’t place a large emphasis on the time spent researching their investments. It’s not uncommon to get excited, busy, or want to start immediately.
The problem is that 66 percent of investors make an impulsive or emotionally driven decision that they later regret.
Separating emotions, like fear, greed, frustration, or impatience from investments can significantly help. One reason I like investing in private real estate is because it gives me time to make a well-informed decision. When you get a property under contract, you usually have 30-90 days to perform proper due diligence and make your final investment decision. As an investor looking at a private real estate placement, you could have days, weeks, months, or even the latter part of a year to make the investment decision. Having this additional flexibility allows you time to ponder, lessening the chances of falling prey to FOMO (fear of missing out).
How do you keep emotion out of investing?
It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves when we’re trying to make smart investment decisions. Additionally, 47 percent of investors report that it is difficult to keep their emotions out of investing. We want to make the right call, and we also want to feel good about our decisions. The fact is, there is no way to remove emotion from investing completely, but there are some things we can do to keep them in check.
#1 We can create a plan and stick to it.
#2 We can diversify our portfolio.
#3 We can dollar cost average (investing a reoccurring fixed dollar amount).
This can be a good discipline strategy for long-term investors. It can help remove emotions by acknowledging that markets will sometimes be up, and sometimes be down. Either way, you will be investing year over year. There is peace of mind knowing that over the long run, you will have an averaged-out return, rather than trying to time the market (a difficulty for most investors).
#4 Understanding your risk tolerance and what is comfortable for YOU is perhaps the most helpful tool.
Investing involves taking calculated risks. Figuring out what types of investments make sense for you, which ones align with your risk tolerance, will provide a greater peace of mind.
If you are part of the 37 percent of investors who have lost sleep over the stock market, just know that you’re not alone. That is a large percentage!
It can be easy to get caught up in the moment when it comes to the stock market. There are constant data metrics, daily news headlines flashing in front of us, and the public markets move quickly. Just remember, there is much more you can invest in aside from the stock market.
Looking at long-term historical data when considering an asset class can also be helpful. Stocks are just one asset class; real estate is another.
If we use real estate for a quick example, consider the median home price in 1990 in America. It was around $123,900. Fast forward to 2022, and it was $440,300. Even though there have been ups and downs in the market along the way, the long-term trajectory has shown strong growth and stability.
Investing may be simple, but it’s not easy
It is a process like anything else, and the learning curve can be steep; therefore, it’s no surprise that 30 percent of investors have cried over investing. According to the MagnifyMoney survey, the top “reasons for tears” include losing money in the stock market (43%), feeling overwhelmed (36%), and selling too early (34%).
A quick word of encouragement
The journey is worth it, and you might find that it’s not about investing at all. You’re learning to take control of your finances, which can be incredibly empowering. To me, this is about having a life by design instead of letting life happen.
On a final note
Emotions and logic are not mutually exclusive. Emotions play a critical role in how we make investment decisions. Knowing how to compartmentalize and control your emotions can make all the difference.
To Your Success,
Ashcroft’s Real Estate Fund
Real estate funds like the Ashcroft Value-Add Fund III (AVAF3) differ from single-asset syndications by investing in multiple properties, which creates a diversified return to investors.
AVAF3 is a real estate private placement currently open to accredited investors who are interested in diversifying into multifamily real estate. AVAF3 is targeting 6-10 multifamily properties throughout the Sunbelt region with an anticipated hold period of 5-7 years. Investors can invest in Class A and/or Class B Limited Partnership Interests.
Class A shares offer a 9 percent annualized coupon (preferred return), for investors seeking strong projected cash flow while reducing risk. Class A shares have limited equity upside beyond the 9% coupon in exchange for higher cash flow. Class B shares offer a 7 percent annualized coupon and offers a greater overall potential return with participation in the potential equity upside when properties sell or refinance.
Article Conversations | Multifamily Q1 Performance and 2023 Strategies with Scott Lebenhart
May 12, 2023
By: Evan Polaski, Investor Relations Managing Director
Hi, I’m Evan Polaski with Ashcroft Capital. Today for our acquisition update, revisiting quarter one and our outlook for quarter two and beyond, I’ve got Scott Lebenhart, Ashcroft Capital’s chief investment officer. Hi, Scott.
Hey, how’s it going? I’m sure you all know me by now, Scott Lebenhart. I’m the CIO here at Ashcroft. I joined up with Ashcroft in 2018, and it’s been a fantastic ride. I love working here. We’ve bought a lot and done a lot of great things. I’m excited to share with you guys what I’m seeing out in the markets right now.
I appreciate it. As we’re recounting, this is our fourth or fifth quarter now doing our interviews. I’m looking forward to continuing these. You can find his full bio on our website if anybody’s looking for a little more detail on Scott’s background.
Looking back at Q1, it was a pretty disruptive quarter on a macro level, not for Ashcroft, but globally. Why don’t you give us a high level of what we’re seeing and what steps we took to try to get through that quarter.
On the acquisitions–transaction side, deal flow was extremely slow to start the new year. Every January, toward the end of January is multifamily’s largest conference, called NMHC (National Multifamily Housing Council), which was held in Vegas this year.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect to put thought leaders in the same room—buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers, and everyone else. We had a big conversation about the current market, and it was almost like a therapy session. What are you feeling? What are you going through right now? What are you seeing with your portfolio? What are your hopes, visions, and plans for 2023?
I think that helped calm some of those in attendance. To understand, “Hey, there’s a lot of money out there. There’s a lot of equity that is looking to invest in multifamily.” Whether it be domestic money, but also a ton of international money looking to invest in multifamily in the United States, everyone feels strongly about the fundamentals of multifamily. We’re dealing with capital market challenges right now.
The overall concerns that everyone shared with each other were about the capital markets and interest rates: “What are interest rates going to do? If and when there is a recession, what’s the impact; how long is that going to be?” Those were the main themes of the conversation.
From the lender side, lenders are as eager as the equity groups are to put money to work and have loans in multifamily. Because again, it performs very well, it stays occupied, and it cash flows as opposed to [sic]. If you lose a tenant, you can’t necessarily find someone else to move in the next day. It doesn’t work like that—same with retail and industrial. Therefore, lenders are still eager to put money out there; it’s tough to buy deals right now.
Refinancing on the lender’s side is extremely difficult as well because of high interest rates. If you’re looking to refinance now, you’re likely going to be refinancing with a higher interest rate than the loan you currently have. As a result, people are waiting.
A good theme that we got from that conference was that lenders are working on getting creative and coming up with new debt products. To meet this higher interest rate environment, they’re offering fixed-rate loans with the ability to buy down the interest rates, providing flexibility to get out of those fixed-rate loans at a certain time. Where we used to love floating-rate loans because they are super flexible, now lenders are starting to figure out how to be flexible with their fixed-rate product as well.
After NMHC, having those conversations helped calm concerns that industry leaders had, and more deals came to the market for sale. These are typically more core-plus in profile deals, most of them built after 2000, and even the majority of deals we saw were probably 2015 and newer. Loan assumption deals became very popular in Q1, where the existing loan was able to be assumed by the next buyer.
This got a lot of interest because it takes the volatility of the debt market out of the equation.
Overall in Q1, some of these deals will actually trade and sell. Some of them didn’t hit their projected pricing and were pulled from the market. And there are a handful of deals put under contract and getting awarded, but they’re not closing, which is rare for the past 24 to 36 months. Ultimately the buyer is dropping out because of interest rate volatility, the capital markets change slightly, or the inability to find equity.
So overall, Q1 was a quarter that was filled with continued uncertainty, but there is some optimism as data points start to come out on where deals are ultimately priced. I know we’ll get into Q2 later, but we do see things opening more from here.
I appreciate that. I was reading yesterday a Wall Street Journal article stating that commercial multifamily transactions were down 74% in Q1 relative to Q1 2022. So obviously everybody is seeing it. I’m sure there are a lot of the same impacts affecting the single-family home market. People who have long-term fixed-rate loans don’t want to sell. Why (assuming that there’s no other distress in the property or other issues coming up)?
I’m talking with investors and saying, “Yeah, we would love to see that great core-plus with value-add upside type potential in a loan assumption, but unfortunately so does everybody else.” Every other buyer wants that; you’re not getting any type of discount in today’s market because of that financing.
Jumping kind of from the macro level to Ashcroft specifically, we didn’t close on any deals in Q1. How many deals were we realistically underwriting? How many offers did we have out there throughout Q1?
We’ve looked at probably a hundred deals or so in Q1, which is a good amount. It’s not a light amount; it’s not the highest quarter we’ve had looking at deals, but a lot of those deals have not traded or won’t trade.
Realistically, about a third of the deals that we looked at went through the full process and were awarded to somebody, whether or not they actually closed. We looked at a lot of deals, and the common theme that we saw was a large bid–ask spread, where the sellers think the property is worth X. And we’re coming back and saying, “That’s great that you think it’s worth that, but it’s worth Y.” Then the seller ultimately says, “Well, I’m not a seller at that price; I’m going to hold it.” We’ve had a lot of conversations, and a lot of those hundred deals were deals where we had these types of conversations. People were testing the water to determine, “What does the market think it’s worth? What do I need to do to get the price that I want on it?”
That led to the limited number of transactions out there. Property holders do want to sell their deals, and they don’t want to sell them at prices that don’t make sense. But of a hundred or so deals that we looked at and had conversations about, we submit LOIs on 10. As you mentioned, we did not get awarded any. Although we’re upset, we’re here to transact; that’s what we like to do. We’re comfortable with this result because we submitted prices that made sense for us.
Ultimately, the deals that we didn’t win, that we heavily pursued, we got outbid. Whether or not that was relationship-wise or pure pricing-wise, we did see that there were some more aggressive sources of equity out there in Q1.
We saw 1,031 buyers being extremely aggressive. Because, again, for them there’s not a lot of deals right now, and they need to put their money to work within a certain time. Therefore, they got aggressive in Q1. We also saw certain buyers coming up near the end of their funds, and it’s either use-it-or-lose-it money. You either spend the money and invest it, or you’ve got to give it back to your investors. We saw some groups that had a time clock on their equity.
Conversely, a lot of buyers were more private family-office-type buyers that were buying deals purely for cash-on-cash returns, not looking at IRR, and planning on holding the deals 10 plus years or more. When you’re dealing with someone who’s pricing a deal that way, where we are both cash-on-cash-return focused and IRR focused, it’s tough to get to that same price point that someone who’s purely cashflow-focused is concerned with.
That’s good to hear. And it’s always particularly good to hear deal results from your perspective, as the acquisition guy and the acquisition group, as to why we were not able to acquire anything. One thing I appreciate about Ashcroft and the broader view that Frank and Joe have set out, which is obviously coming through within the organization, is that it is better to do no deals than bad deals. And if it works out, it works out.
As an investor myself, that is definitely something that is good to hear. There’s almost value in knowing that we’re not buying anything.
Let’s jump into Q2 and what we’re starting to see coming forward. Some of these questions obviously go Q2 and beyond, but what are you starting to see? You had mentioned lenders getting into some creative structures. Why don’t you dive into a little more detail on that?
We are continuing to talk to our relationship lenders, as well as new potential relationship lenders and our peers, asking, “Hey, what are you doing with this type of loan? What are you doing with that on that deal? How did you finance that?”
Right now, the real issue with lenders and the entire capital market perspective is that interest rates are so high, meaning debt service coverage ratios on deals are low, debt yields are low, and there is uncertainty on where devaluation is going to end up for these properties. This is leading to lenders lending at less proceeds, meaning lower LTVs. Typically, right now, it’s more in the 55 to 65% loan-to-value range. Where we weren’t taking it up to 80% LTV two years ago or so, you could have gotten loans in the 75, 80% range back then.
That’s pulled back, which is creating issues for people who need to refinance or people who want to buy but don’t necessarily have that larger equity piece that you need, call it 35%, 35 to 45% of the capital stack with equity as opposed to 20, 25% of equities.
One of the unattractive parts about a fixed-rate loan is the lack of flexibility to sell out of it early. Typically, there are larger prepays on that and the fees, costs, and yield maintenance to unwind the securities that are backing that loan. Because it’s more debt-fund focused, we’re seeing more balance-sheet lenders. This means that these lenders are using their own money, lending it out, and waiting for it to come back, as opposed to lending it out and then selling off that loan to a different holder, where they’re buying that loan for the cash flow expected of it. That is where the issue is being created. A lot of these groups that have debt funds are lending their own money, which means that they can do what they want because it’s their own money.
We’ve also spoken with certain lender relationships on the insurance side that have preferred equity groups within their shops. They give you a typical bank loan up to 60% or so, and then they go from 60% to maybe 70, 75% with their preferred equity product. But to the borrower, it looks like one loan of up to 70% or so. It’s just the higher interest rate, but you’re able to get proceeds that way.
Again, we’re continuing to see the lenders try to react to the environment that we’re in today. All this happened very quickly. People didn’t have money raised to accommodate the summer of last year when interest rates started to hike. Now they’re taking a step back. They’re able to go to their investors and their investment committees and say, “Hey, this is what we need to do to fill the gap in the hole.”
There are still a lot of products that are not out yet that are launching in Q2 or Q3 based on the timing of setting up the fund documents, etc. I am optimistic that there are better solutions on the horizon for us on the lending side.
From that standpoint, it sounds a bit like the lenders are running the show and causing some pause in the acquisition market. Clearly, if people could still borrow at 2%, a lot more deals would be transacted at the prices that sellers still want.
Is that accurate? I know this is a bit of a crystal ball comment, but what are you seeing start to thaw that market to get more transactions so that those bid prices can start coming down?
I hate to say that one person controls the fate of our industry. But in reality, until Jerome Powell and the Feds start to signal an end to the interest rate hikes, that is going to start the thawing process. We’ve started to see that with his March statements talking about the peak interest rates. Since then, we’ve seen treasuries come down significantly. The yield curve flattened and has started to decrease a lot sooner than originally anticipated.
If he starts to signal that, I think that will be more promising. If he signals when rates may start to decrease and what rates may look like in 2024, that’s going to help even more. Ultimately, once people can start to get a better understanding of what their cost of capital is going to be, people are going to be excited and willing to be more aggressive on deals.
To overly simplify modeling a multifamily deal, it is a simple math equation. As you noted, if you don’t know what you’re subtracting, what the number that you’re taking out of the bigger number is, you don’t know whether that’s going to be a positive or negative spread. I completely understand where you’re coming from there.
Using that, and particularly with the forward curve end of Q4, going into early Q1, there was a lot of talk about the wave of distressed loans that are coming due in the second half of this year, particularly people who took out bridge loans that maybe got aggressive on assumptions on the front end and bought in 2020, 2021, 2022 on short-term types of loans. Are we still seeing that? Is there still an expectation that there is going to be some of that coming later this year?
Yes, I believe that truly distressed deals will be here by the end of next year. Like you said, the floating rate environment started post-COVID in early 2021. That’s when all the debt funds came back to the table and got aggressive with their floating-rate product. Those are the loans that are starting to come up for their two-year anniversary, where people need to buy rate caps.
You start getting tested at that level. Certain deals were only two years, with one-year extensions. We typically did three-year initial terms with two one-year extensions. So thankfully, we’re not running into that issue.
I personally don’t think the distress in the market is going to be as robust as other people do. The distressed sellers on deals are going to be those owners of properties that have been poorly operated and poorly capitalized and basically have their lender forcing them to repay that loan.
At that point, they’ll have two options. They could either sell at perhaps a loss, which would create that distressed environment, or refinance into a new loan, which, as we talked about, is very difficult in this environment. If you didn’t complete your business plan and grow NOI substantially, you’re likely not going to be able to refinance out your proceeds. As a result, you’re taking a loan for less than what your original loan balance was, meaning you must come up with equity or some type of preferred equity to come into the deal. That is not always the best solution for a deal. This has been an extremely heavy focus of Ashcroft and NARS (National Association of Realtors). When we’re not buying deals, this is what we’re working on. We’re in constant communication with our lenders, working to ensure that we’ll have no pressure to sell or refinance.
Ultimately, based on conversations, I don’t think lenders want to foreclose on properties in mass quantities. They don’t want to become landlords. They don’t want to have what happened in 2008 and 2009, forcing them to figure out what to do with all the properties that they’re now owners of. Therefore, they’re willing to work with the borrowers with whom they have relationships and are executing business plans properly.
I do think between working with known borrowers and the creativity that we’re starting to see in the loan space, some potential distress will be alleviated that we were originally expecting and kick the can down the road so to speak. This will also give owners and borrowers time to let the capital markets settle and then work through the payoff of the loan. They will wait for the capital markets to improve to sell the property or refinance. I think that the distressed deals are going to be more truly distressed deals that you’re buying from poor operators that haven’t executed the business plan.
Taking all that you’ve shared with us and diving into Ashcroft, how are we evolving our discussion last quarter to take a more calculated approach, setting ourselves up to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise and will continue to come to market?
We’re being extremely selective on the properties that we’re pursuing. To the point I mentioned before, we are focusing on the more core-plus profile deals that are coming out. Those are what we’re looking at. In times of uncertainty, you look at the markets. People flood toward gold, commodities, and other safe plays. Those core-plus type deals are more of those “safe plays.”
High-quality deals, extremely strong locations, and good demographics are all things that we’re focused on. Given the lending environment that we talked about, we’re looking at deals with big straight loans. We’re trying to work within the flexibility of them, but we’re buying these deals with the mentality of, “Hey, we are going to hold it for at least five years or so.”
In terms of the calculated approach, on the distressed side, we are taking a very targeted approach and doing a ton of research to find deals in submarkets that we like. As you suggested, we think that more of this distress will be on the outskirts and the B-locations. We’re trying to find that diamond in the rough, where there may be a distressed deal coming up with an ideal product type in an area that we like.
We’re targeting and researching properties that were purchased in the last two to three years, looking at who the owners are and what their type of capitalization may be. We want to be in position on those deals when it is time for a seller to say, “All right, now I’m a market seller; I’ll take my loss, and I’m ready to go.” We are hoping to be that first call.
At Ashcroft, as things have slowed down, our leasing agents are upping that salesmanship, where they didn’t necessarily have time to do so the last two years because tenants were flooding in, and they were getting five qualified tenants for every vacancy.
Now we need to find these tenants. We need to follow up and make sure we’re getting them into units—to that end, on the IR side, being continually in front of our investors and making sure that we’re having those conversations. I appreciate all of this input. Any final comments that you might have that you’d like to share?
I hope that in the next call, we’ll be talking about a deal that we actually got under contract. As an acquisition person, a deal junkie, it’s frustrating to not have any deals. But to your point, we are remaining hyper-focused on great deals and staying firm on our prices. We’re not looking to make a bad investment on the front end. We’re looking to find a safe investment in a market that we feel strongly about, with a business plan that we feel confident in—also building in, as we’ve always done, a conservative underwriting.
At the end of the day, our expectation is to under-promise and overachieve. We want to make sure that we stay true to that. It’s frustrating, but we know that in the long run we’ll be just fine.
Article Investor Feature: Turning the Dream of Generational Wealth Into Reality
May 4, 2023
“I never have to work again–neither does my wife. If my kids never choose to work, they don’t have to. I don’t want them to live a life based on money like I did. I want them to focus on making the world a better place. I want them to do something they believe in. That’s what I’ve gained through my investments.”
Thirty-four-year-old Samuel Wilkinson followed in his father’s footsteps and became a veterinarian. As he speaks, his gratitude for his father is palpable, but Samuel clearly wanted to make some changes to the model. “What fuels me is setting up generational wealth for my family,” he says. “I have two kids, a wife, five sisters, and two living parents. When I think about everything I do, it’s with them in mind.”
Honoring the family legacy
“I don’t have some childhood sob story, but my dad worked hard…and a lot. He provided for us and gave us vacations, but his work took away from time with us. I respect him for his sacrifice. I know he wanted to be there, but at the time, it was hard not being able to spend time with him. He grew up poor, turned his situation around, and gave his children a leg up by paying for our education–so we all have successful careers. I saw him and decided I don’t want to give everything and all my time to my active source of income.”
For a while, Samuel worried this meant giving up being a vet. At his first practice, he found himself caring for animals all day long and then focusing on business operations after hours. It amounted to 12-hour days with no chance for leisure. That’s when Samuel began exploring investing as a way to get his time back, while still earning money.
“My strategy has been to develop a number of sources of passive income–I personally own two businesses, participate in 8 syndications, invest in nonprofits, and have traditional retirement accounts.” Now, Samuel can balance his veterinary work with the family time he cherishes.
Building wealth with real estate
Samuel is a big believer in real estate investment–and with good reason. “More millionaires have been created with real estate than any other industry in existence. It’s a stable asset, though it does experience ups and downs. But the bottom line is if you want a solid investment over the course of your life, there’s nothing that will perform as consistently as real estate. It’s one of the few things you can completely ignore, treat it poorly, even let it get down to the raw land, and it will still maintain value.”
He also appreciates the tangibility of real estate, noting that his familiarity with the asset class gives him added peace of mind. “I like being able to literally hold my investment. I have a key; I can cut the grass. I needed to be involved in something I understood. If worse came to worst, I know how to manage real estate and the ship would not go down with me at the helm.”
When it came to investing with Ashcroft, Samuel says it wasn’t just his market research that supported his decision, but the warm rapport he developed with the leadership team. “I liked their vision, history, track record, and assets they invested in. I had a great experience with them. They treated me respectfully at a time when they didn’t really have to. I wasn’t quite ready to invest when I first met Travis and Joe.”
“Eventually I wanted to see if I could find anything bad about the company. When I looked, there was nothing. Nothing. And that doesn’t happen.”
Slow and steady wins the race
At 34 and ready to retire his entire family, Samuel is the perfect picture of an investor that has it all figured out–but he’s quick to remind everyone that smart investing doesn’t mean overnight success.
It is his long-term strategy of conserving income and building a diverse portfolio that has led Samuel and his family to a new level of security and financial freedom. “We have not splurged because we have been focusing on reinvesting and growing our wealth.” In fact, Samuel has been living in the same modest ranch home rental since finishing his doctorate in 2017, when he shared a combined $120,000 of student loan debt with his wife.
“Now we’re completely school and consumer debt-free, and I have set up retirements for my mom and dad so they never have to work again.”
Samuel credits his passive income with making these life-changing milestones possible. And he has no plans of stopping, sharing that he invested in multiple syndications in 2022 and will do the same in 2023. “Only now are we really changing our lifestyle, because our past investments are starting to snowball. Our passive income will now help us buy our first home. It’s all about patience. I hope that inspires people.”
With the dream of laying the foundation for generational wealth achieved, Samuel is also starting to relish a few of the finer things in life, thanks to his investments. “We don’t eat crappy cheese anymore! I really enjoy high quality cheese and bread…and I bought a plane.”
Photographed below, Sam Wilkinson, wife Becca Wilkinson and kids
Those described as ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) have amassed net worths of $30 million or more. These ultra-wealthy investors have plans for investing during good economic times and downturns. Rather than sit on the sidelines during times of uncertainty, the ultra-wealthy believe economic downturns present some of the best opportunities to buy long-term assets at discounted prices.
Let’s look at the five investing mistakes the ultra-wealthy don’t make:
1. Investing only in intangible assets
Although intangible assets like stocks and bonds are a part of their portfolio, the ultra-wealthy also allocate their money to physical assets like real estate, land, gold, and artwork. Real estate is a popular asset class for UHNWIs because it has lower volatility and a low correlation to the stock market.
2. Allocating 100% of investments to the public markets
UHNWIs look to private markets to generate substantial wealth. According to Knight Frank’s 2023 Wealth Report, here’s what makes up the portfolios of the world’s wealthiest people:
34% in commercial real estate
26% in equities
17% in bonds
9% in private equity/venture capital
5% in investments of passion
3. Keeping up with the Joneses
Building wealth is not only about what you make but also about what you spend. Although UHNWIs will make savvy investments in assets that grow in value over the long term, they resist the urge to overspend. They remain focused on growing their own portfolios rather than competing with, or keeping up with, others. Take famously frugal billionaire Warren Buffet for example; he still lives in the same house he bought for $31,500 more than 60 years ago.
4. Failing to rebalance a personal portfolio
The ultra-wealthy maintain specific allocation goals in their portfolios and rebalance them regularly to ensure they have the right mix of assets based on their age and risk tolerance.
5. Omitting a savings strategy from a financial plan
Building and preserving wealth is achieved by both investing and saving. By living below their means and maintaining an emergency savings fund, UHNWIs can achieve their desired level of wealth faster.
Identifying the right investments to preserve capital requires due diligence, but UHNWIs don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis. They understand how to evaluate investment opportunities and complete due diligence, and they take the necessary steps to preserve and build their wealth. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, they maintain an active investment strategy and seek opportunities in times of uncertainty.
If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio with real estate and invest like the ultra-wealthy, you might want to consider real estate syndication. Syndications offer the opportunity for individuals to invest in commercial assets like large apartment buildings alongside a sponsor, such as Ashcroft Capital, who has the expertise needed and manages the day-to-day responsibilities.
Article Multifamily Real Estate: Perceptive Reasons for Caution and Confidence
April 20, 2023
By: Ben Nelson, Investor Relations Regional Manager
In recent conversations with accredited investors, I’ve found that few asset classes feel like comfortable landing places for capital in today’s environment. It seems that every list of pros can be outweighed by a longer list of cons that stall investor decision-making. For many, the choice is simple: move to cash and stay on the sidelines until the climate improves.
However, because cash appears to be a prudent choice, if you’re looking for the stability and protection of a major bank, you may be forced to forego yield entirely. For example, most large institutional banks currently offer 0.02%–0.05% on savings accounts. I’ll refrain from any further cash-bashing rant to focus on a topic we love at Ashcroft: multifamily real estate. Like any other asset class in the past 12 months, multifamily has had its share of ups and downs. Here are three factors that make us cautious in this environment and three that keep us confident.
Reasons for Caution
Inflation and rising costs: From the data released on April 12, 2023, the current consumer price index (CPI) measures 5.00% over the past 12 months. These monthly CPI data represent a wide range of consumer goods and services and are primary indicators of the inflationary or deflationary forces at work in the broader economy. This is the ninth consecutive month that the CPI has fallen, which is a good sign for consumers feeling the pinch. Unfortunately, inflation is still at uncomfortably elevated levels, and sovereign measures to fight inflation can take months, if not years, before they are fully realized. Ashcroft’s proven value-add strategy requires a substantial commitment to construction materials and labor. Although Ashcroft is able to reduce costs and maximize efficiency through Birchstone Residential, our vertically integrated property management and construction company, construction costs are separate from and can be up to double the CPI inflation rate. We are being extremely cautious when deploying capital to our construction projects in this environment to maximize investor return.
Tighter lending requirements: If recent history is any guide, when banks start failing and governments rush to backstop depositors, stricter lending regulations are sure to follow.Sometimes it can take years for these policies to go into effect, but you can bet that they are coming. Real estate markets operate on credit, and tighter requirements usually restrict deal flow, weaken property economics, and slow the movement of capital required for growth. This can come in the form of larger down payments for new acquisitions, increased insurance requirements, and forcing buyers to hold higher levels of cash reserves. Often these policies will force sellers to market assets at attractive valuations for buyers, which can be advantageous for a syndicator like Ashcroft Capital.
Market timing: One of my favorite quotes has always been “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” The ability to adapt and find opportunities ultimately leads to long-term success. In 2022 and 2023 the timing of market forces beyond our control has been concerning. As the US Federal Reserve led the fight against inflation by raising interest rates at its most aggressive levels in the past 40 years, every syndicator was notified that their original plan had made contact with the enemy of progress. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” and I believe this statement will apply to the multifamily space in the coming years. A skilled syndicator will be able to capitalize on opportunities brought on by market conditions and use every tool at their disposal to navigate the turbulence for their investors.
Reasons for Confidence
Supply/demand imbalance: There is a housing shortage in the US. Anna Bahney of CNN recently stated that, from 2012 to 2022, the gap between new households formed and new homes constructed, including multifamily units, is a shortage of 2 million. When consumer demand is up, and supply is down, economics 101 tells us prices will increase until that supply is met or demand falls. Even more revealing is that 95% of new housing construction in the first three quarters of 2022 was intended for rentals, not purchases. New multifamily construction is often the most expensive rental option, so your average renter will typically look toward more affordable housing in renovated but slightly older properties. This plays into Ashcroft’s core strategy and why value-add properties will continue to maintain high occupancy rates and drive net operating income growth.
A nationwide shift to renting: If we look in the rearview mirror going back 24 months, we see a dramatic shift in US home affordability. According to data from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, in March 2021 the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.18%, and the average home sales price was $418,600. As of April 6 the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.24%, and at the end of the last quarter of 2022 the average US home sales price was $535,800.  To summarize, mortgage rates rose 96%, and home prices rose 28% in roughly a two-year period. Moreover, homeowners with existing low-rate mortgages are largely unwilling to sell their homes and add to the already low housing inventory. This combination has priced out thousands of would-be home buyers and has propelled the necessity of affordable multifamily housing. Rents have risen along with rising interest rates, but the affordability gap between homeownership and renting has widened dramatically.
The great migration: Inflation-adjusted wages were reported down again for March of 2023, marking the 24th consecutive monthly decrease.
But financial pressure isn’t the only factor causing people to move and later rent in more affordable cities. Rising crime, growing homeless populations, heavy taxes, subpar education, and stubborn home prices are also factors. Perhaps the greatest is the growth of the remote workforce in the US, making tens of thousands reevaluate where they can afford the highest quality of life for their families. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic wrote, “But for millions of white-collar workers, something important has changed: They don’t work ‘in’ cities anymore. They work on the internet. The city is just where they go for fun.” Ashcroft’s core strategy is to acquire multifamily properties in healthy and growing submarkets, and this continued nationwide migration makes us even more confident in our long-term strategy.
Why Ashcroft and AVAF3?
This may not be the most favorable time for a multifamily syndicator, but it’s not all negative. The sector’s fundamentals remain strong, and there will be opportunities for the skilled and prepared. Our value-add process has repeatedly been proven to work, and although construction materials can be cost-prohibitive, we hedged against potential rising prices by prepurchasing our materials and safely storing them in our centralized Dallas warehouse.
Ashcroft Capital will always be conservative in its projections, and we’ve gone to great lengths to incorporate market softening and rising cap rates into our AVAF3 model. In fact, we’re assuming year-over-year rent growth of 5% in year one and only 3% each year thereafter, which is much less than the commonly used 10 bps per year an asset is held. We have also lowered the loan-to-value percentage from our historical average of roughly 75% to 65% on Midtown 501, our first asset in AVAF3, to reduce interest expenses. Our all-in interest rate on Midtown 501 is 5.75%, with three-year rate caps in place. We also can refinance this property without any prepayment penalties should rates begin to fall.
Most important, we feel great about our target markets and the assets we buy. Areas like Raleigh, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, and Dallas–Fort Worth are buzzing with strong economies and growing populations. People need an affordable place to live and are choosing to rent in safer areas where they can maximize their income and quality of life. We believe this will play into our hands and drive returns for years to come.