REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
FAIRSTEAD | July 26, 2022
Fairstead, a purpose-driven, vertically integrated real estate company committed to sustainable development and the creation and preservation of high-quality housing, today announced the acquisition of the historic Aurora Apartments (Aurora) tower in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio. Located at 509 Howard Street, the 11-story building comprises 105 apartments that are home to low-income senior residents. Fairstead will invest $15 million to rehabilitate Aurora Apartments while preserving Aurora's affordability and historic character long-term.
The renovations will modernize the interior homes of the 92-year-old property and preserve its historic façade as well as original mosaic tile flooring and walls, historical interior doors, and hardware. Renovations will upgrade the infrastructure of the building including a new emergency generator, electrical panels and main switchgear, installing a sprinkler system, two new elevators, and new roofing. The apartments will also be upgraded with new Energy Star appliances, kitchens and bathrooms, and HVAC units. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
"Fairstead is proud to be stewards of historic properties across the country, and we are bringing our approach to preserving both history and affordability to the Aurora Apartments, By expanding our footprint in Texas, we can ensure that its critical affordable housing stock is not only protected but improved and modernized. Our plan to overhaul the homes at Aurora will ensure our senior residents can age in place with dignity – something we are committed to doing nationwide."
Allan Izzo, Director, Development at Fairstead
Fairstead is financing the rehabilitation in partnership with the Las Varas Public Facility Corporation, a nonprofit managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Capital One, N.A., and Boston Financial.
"About half of the residents receiving housing assistance from SAHA are elderly on a fixed income," said Tim Alcott, the San Antonio Housing Authority Chief Legal and Real Estate Officer. "We celebrate partnerships that help maintain affordable housing options for the families we serve and provide a place of security."
"Boston Financial is proud to have partnered with Fairstead on the preservation of Aurora Apartments in San Antonio, Texas. Our investment has helped Fairstead to modernize 105 units of housing for the residents of this historic community, especially seniors, and preserved much-needed affordable homes for the region," said Stephen Napolitano, Senior Vice President, Boston Financial. "We believe in Fairstead's commitment to building vibrant communities across the US, and our work together reinforces our own vision to create a future where everyone has a home, one investment at a time."
"This renovation will help bring transformative change to Aurora Apartments with fully renovated unit interiors and common areas, as well as accessibility and energy efficiency improvements" said Evan Williams, senior vice president of Agency Finance at Capital One. "By leveraging our relationships with Fairstead and Freddie Mac, as well as the rest of the development team, Capital One was able to arrange an index lock, which mitigated the risk of interest volatility and ensured the project benefited from a 2.92% treasury rate."
Fairstead is partnering with the non-profit Rainbow Housing Assistance to provide much-needed social services to residents through the company's commitment to Community Impact.
"Rainbow is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Fairstead at Aurora Apartments. We are excited to bring valuable programs and services to the residents of the community and promote social and economic advancements while ensuring tenant stabilization," said Flynann Janisse, President and Executive Director of Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation. "Rainbow will offer a variety of programs targeting financial literacy, credit enhancements, education, ESL, career development and immediate employment. We will establish tailored programing to meet the unique needs of each individual and family that calls Aurora Apartments home. We look forward to lifting lives in partnership with Fairstead."
Built in 1930 as a luxury hotel in the Neo-Gothic architectural style, Aurora is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its hand-carved fireplaces and grand common spaces, the vintage 11-story apartment building will remain a pet-friendly place to call home. Half of the building's units are reserved for residents making up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and the other half are for households making up to 60 percent AMI.
This news follows Fairstead's recent acquisition of the 160-unit affordable housing complex Gateway Apartments at Lake Jackson in the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Fairstead is renovating and expanding Gateway's amenity offerings, including a fitness room and playground, and is transforming the property's outdoor recreation spaces to create a more connected community for residents.
Fairstead is a purpose-driven vertically integrated real estate developer specializing in creating sustainable, high-quality housing. The firm's national footprint includes more than $6 billion in assets and identified pipeline. With offices in New York, Maryland, and South Carolina, Fairstead's team manages 90+ communities across the country and runs its comprehensive real estate platform, which includes acquisitions and development, venture capital investments in prop tech, design and construction, energy and sustainability, property management, marketing, and leasing. The firm also administers one of the industry's most proactive community impact programs to provide on-site support services to residents.
Own Up and Realtor.com | September 01, 2022
Own Up, a digital mortgage shopping service, today announced a commercial relationship with Realtor.com, a real estate marketplace operated by News Corp’s subsidiary, Move, Inc. Own Up and Realtor.com are mission-aligned companies, both aiming to improve the home buying process for Americans looking to close on their dream homes.
Alongside this new collaboration, Own Up closed a $25M round of funding, led by Brand Foundry Ventures. Realtor.com is among the investors participating in the funding round, which also saw return participation from past investors, Link Ventures and Listen Ventures. The injection of capital will allow Own Up to continue to build out its innovative technology platform, expand its novel shopping experience and product offerings, and invest in the Company’s people and culture.
Own Up and Realtor.com’s relationship will give users direct access to Own Up’s mortgage shopping service, including personalized loan offers from its exclusive lender marketplace and real-time advice from the industry’s only mortgage shopping concierge. The integration with Realtor.com will allow homebuyers to gather detailed information about their home financing options as they search listings and find real estate agents.
The housing market has been increasingly challenging for buyers over the past 12 months, with low inventory, rising prices, higher mortgage interest rates, and high-stakes bidding wars. That has caused heightened stress and anxiety for hopeful buyers, an issue Own Up and Realtor.com hope to work together to address.
“From day one, our singular goal was to be a champion for the consumer and bring greater transparency to the home buying process. As the mortgage industry continues to see changes at a rapid clip, it’s crucial that consumers are armed with the right information to make the best financial decisions, Realtor.com plays an essential role in the home search process for so many Americans and now we’ll be able to provide mortgage education and tools to comparison shop, boosting buyer confidence as they move through the process.”
-Patrick Boyaggi, CEO and co-founder of Own Up
Own Up’s team brings deep mortgage expertise to the Realtor.com online experience, This relationship is a natural fit; together we’re able to expand upon our shared goal of helping Americans find and close on their dream homes,said Realtor.com CFO Bryan Charap.
The housing market is at an inflection point, marked by a lack of inventory and a historic rise in interest rates, and Own Up is uniquely positioned to help consumers navigate one of the most tumultuous components, This next phase of growth will further cement Own Up’s position as the mortgage shopping experts, ensuring no borrower overpays on their mortgage. At this time of inflation and a pending recession, cost-savings has never been more important,said Brian Spaly, General Partner at Brand Foundry Ventures.
About Own Up
Founded in 2016, Own Up is changing the way Americans shop for and secure mortgages, injecting transparency into an opaque process and empowering consumers to make smart financial decisions with the help of intelligent technology and real human advisors.
Realtor.com® is an open real estate marketplace built for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago. Today, through its website and mobile apps, Realtor.com® is a trusted guide for consumers, empowering more people to find their way home by breaking down barriers, helping them make the right connections, and creating confidence through expert insights and guidance. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted partner for business growth, offering consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today’s on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
QUALIA | August 25, 2022
Qualia, the leading digital real estate closing platform, today announced the release of the Qualia API. The Qualia API provides real estate businesses and PropTech companies seeking to start, optimize, or scale their title agency operations the ability to automatically connect internal software tools, integrate with their commercial partners, and analyze their comprehensive performance data.
With the Qualia API, businesses can automatically place and track title orders, as well as access comprehensive order, accounting, and contact data on their files in order to build custom notifications and executive-level performance dashboards. API customers can use these capabilities to design custom client experiences as well as track performance, productivity, revenue, and pipeline across clients and settlement agency branches. These insights can then be used to identify areas for improvement operationally, visualize business trends over time when used with their BI tools, and ensure CRM and accounting systems all stay in sync.
“Our mission at Qualia is to create a simple and secure journey to home ownership, As part of that, we continue to develop technology that helps businesses engineer full end-to-end purchase and refinance experiences. The API makes it easy for businesses to expand without an expensive and timely investment in custom built technology.”
-Nate Baker, CEO at Qualia
The Qualia API comes along at a time when the pace of change in consumer expectations for end-to-end purchase experiences has accelerated. Companies with large-scale operations have historically struggled to keep up with these changes and efficiently connect their multiple workflow and business intelligence tools to deliver a unified real estate transaction experience.
Amid these changing expectations, the real estate and mortgage market continue to tighten. After years of growth, the industry faces a market downturn which is predicted to persist well into 2023. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts mortgage origination levels in 2023 are expected to be half of what they were in 2021. During this shift, companies in the real estate and mortgage industry are simultaneously facing heavy pressure to cut costs by operating more efficiently while also investing in modern client experiences in order to remain competitive.
Qualia’s cloud-based platform is uniquely positioned to meet the various needs of real estate business amid shifting macro environments. A flexible set of pull and push API capabilities and a secure authorization framework enable title agents to connect internal systems for a more streamlined title and escrow operations infrastructure. For businesses without internal title operations, the API also enables direct, digital access to a national network of technology-enabled independent title agents.
We think about Qualia as an extension of the Redfin ecosystem and that’s not possible without the Qualia API, With the Qualia API, we don’t have to spend tens of millions of dollars in R&D to build out ways to streamline our title & escrow experience. The Qualia platform makes it possible for us to package, market, and let our customers have a cohesive experience that would not otherwise be possible as a set of discrete services,shared Mary Pappas, Principal Product Manager at Redfin.
Qualia is the leading comprehensive digital closing platform used by title, escrow, real estate and mortgage lending professionals to transform home buying and selling into simple, secure, enjoyable experiences for millions of homeowners each year. The Qualia platform provides a secure operating system of record for the real estate settlement ecosystem through a suite of workflow, accounting, reporting, and communications products as well as its expansive product and service integrations. Qualia is headquartered in San Francisco, CA and has offices in Austin, TX, and Superior, CO.