REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
Houwzer | April 19, 2022
Houwzer, a next generation real estate brokerage and homeownership platform powered by proprietary technology and an all-W2 labor model, announces that advisor, entrepreneur, and investor, Jonathan Zabusky, will join the company’s board as Executive Chairman.
Zabusky, most recently the President and Board Director at GrubHub Inc., will act as a co-pilot to Houwzer’s CEO, Mike Maher, helping drive the next stage of growth at the company, which pulled in $118M in equity and debt as part of a Series B funding round earlier this year. With the new funds, Houwzer is introducing three new products, Cash Advantage, Convenience Offers, and Buy Before You Sell, to help clients remain competitive in the most challenging housing market in history.
Zabusky will work alongside Maher to help refine corporate strategy, which is timely given the current state of the housing market. As a seasoned CEO and operator, Zabusky will provide mentorship to Maher as a strategic thought partner as he navigates the company through market volatility and unprecedented change. He will also ensure maximum collaboration and vision alignment between the other Directors and the management team transforming the Board into a strategic weapon for the business.
I am incredibly excited to join Houwzer's Board as Executive Chairman and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mike and his outstanding team. I’m energized by our mission to elevate the home buying and selling experience to become more fair, transparent, and seamless. Houwzer's robust suite of integrated tools, products and technology, coupled with a deeply engaged and aligned team of expert agents, facilitates a more enjoyable and productive real estate journey for its clients."
Zabusky led Seamless, as its CEO, through tremendous growth before merging it with GrubHub. After the merger, Zabusky led corporate strategy and development, product, marketing, and corporate and restaurant sales as GrubHub’s President. During his tenure, he successfully integrated multiple strategic acquisitions and played a pivotal role in the company’s initial public offering. Zabusky is Founder and Managing Partner of Bounce Ventures LLC and also serves as an advisor and board director to a portfolio of venture and private equity-backed companies in the U.S. and Israel.
“Jonathan brings a wealth of strategic growth experience to the team,” says Houwzer CEO and Founder, Mike Maher. “As we continue building on our momentum, he will play a critical role in fine-tuning our approach and ensuring we continue to prioritize resources to accelerate growth and market share. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside an entrepreneur as successful and thoughtful as Jonathan.”
Houwzer also announced the recent hiring of Andrew Daley as Chief Marketing Officer. Daley brings two decades of high-growth experience in highly competitive environments, helping companies differentiate their brands across a range of industries like mobility, real estate, and travel. Most recently, he led marketing for Hana, a CBRE company that redefined the flexible office space experience. Daley has also served as Global Head of Marketing for Zipcar and in key marketing functions for Starwood Hotels, Reebok, and several online travel and startup brands.
“The real estate industry is ripe for disruption and the incumbent model is broken. Houwzer is realigning the incentives more fairly between the broker, the agent, and the client so that everyone wins. The end result is a better, faster, smarter way to buy, sell, finance, and insure homes,” says Daley.
Houwzer has eliminated the percentage-based commission pricing for listings and rebuilt the brokerage model around the customer, creating a one-stop shop for real estate, mortgage, title, and insurance that simplifies the chaotic and expensive process of buying and selling homes. Its $5,000 flat-fee listing model empowers sellers to maximize their profit – saving an average of $15,000 in commissions, while still providing a full-service experience via technology and expert, salaried agents.
Houwzer has helped clients buy and sell more than 4,000 homes with a cumulative sales volume of nearly $2 billion, saving home sellers $35 million in brokerage commissions. Houwzer is the only real estate company operating on an all-W2 compensation model across all of its salaried agents and mortgage advisors. It’s also the industry’s first B Corporation real estate brokerage and will soon be announcing its newly appointed Board of its impact model, the RiseUp Fund. Recently, the company entered into a partnership to become the Official Real Estate Partner of the 76ers.
Houwzer is a next-generation real estate brokerage and home services company built around the customer. Its full-service, salaried agents and loan officers help homeowners save when they sell and trust when they buy. Houwzer’s proprietary technology is an end-to-end platform that streamlines the entire transaction from beginning to end with an integrated one-stop shopping experience. The company employs unique salaried agents as dedicated seller or buyer agent specialists who receive salary instead of commissions, allowing them to focus on service, not just sales. Houwzer has maintained an industry-leading Net Promoter Score of 84 and an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from over thousands of client reviews online. Since launching in 2015, Houwzer has saved home sellers along the East Coast over $35 million and helped clients buy or sell thousands of homes worth almost $2 billion.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Bluerock Residential | December 21, 2021
Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (NYSE American: BRG) (the "Company") today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate ("Blackstone") under which Blackstone will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of BRG for $24.25 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $3.6 billion (the "Acquisition").
Under the terms of the agreement, Blackstone will acquire 30 multifamily properties comprising approximately 11,000 units as well as a loan book secured by 24 multifamily assets. The properties consist of high-quality garden-style assets with significant green space and resort-style amenities, built, on average, in 2000. The majority of the properties are located in Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Denver and Austin.
Prior to the Acquisition, the Company separately intends to spin off its single-family rental business to its shareholders (the "Spin-Off" and together with the Acquisition, the "Transaction") through the taxable distribution to shareholders of all of the outstanding shares of common stock of a newly formed real estate investment trust named Bluerock Homes Trust, Inc. ("BHOM"), which will be externally managed by an affiliate of Bluerock Real Estate. BHOM will own interests in approximately 3,400 homes, including 2,000 through preferred/mezzanine investments, located in fast growing, high quality of life and knowledge economy markets across the United States. The Company's shareholders will receive shares of BHOM, with a current implied Net Asset Value estimated at $5.60 (based on the midpoint of the valuation range provided by Duff & Phelps, independent financial advisor to the Company's board of directors), for each share of Company common stock. There can be no assurance that the trading price upon a listing of BHOM will be equal to or greater than this estimated NAV.
The Transaction has been unanimously approved by the Company's board of directors and the Acquisition, excluding the value of BHOM, represents a premium of approximately 124% over the unaffected closing stock price on September 15, 2021, the date prior to a media article reporting that the Company was exploring strategic options including a sale.
We are very proud to enter into a transaction that delivers tremendous value to our shareholders. We believe the substantial premium to our historic trading price is a testament to our success in building a best-in-class institutional-quality multifamily apartment portfolio in our attractive knowledge-economy target markets, along with the robust process run by the board of directors and management to secure maximum value for our shareholders,"
Ramin Kamfar, Company Chairman and CEO.
Bluerock's portfolio consists of high-quality multifamily properties in markets across the U.S. experiencing some of the strongest fundamentals. We look forward to bringing our best-in-class management to these properties to ensure they continue to be operated at the highest standards for the benefit of tenants and the surrounding communities."
Asim Hamid, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone Real Estate
Completion of the Acquisition, which is currently expected to occur in the second quarter of 2022, is contingent upon consummation of the Spin-Off, as well as customary closing conditions, including the approval of the Company's shareholders, who will vote on the transaction at a special meeting on a date to be announced. The Acquisition is not contingent on receipt of financing by Blackstone.
Most members of the Company's senior management, along with certain entities related to them, have agreed to retain their interests in the Company's operating partnership, which will hold the assets related to the single-family rental business upon completion of the Spin-Off, rather than receiving cash consideration.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Eastdil Secured LLC are the Company's lead financial advisors with BofA Securities also serving as an advisor. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank, PLC, and Vinson & Elkins, LLP are serving as the Company's legal counsel. Barclays and Wells Fargo Securities LLC are Blackstone's financial advisors and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is Blackstone's legal advisor.
About Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc.
Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (NYSE American: BRG) is a real estate investment trust that focuses on developing and acquiring a diversified portfolio of institutional-quality highly amenitized live/work/play apartment communities in demographically attractive knowledge economy growth markets to appeal to the renter by choice. The Company's objective is to generate value through off-market/relationship-based transactions and, at the asset level, through value-add improvements to properties and to operations. BRG has elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
About Blackstone Real Estate
Blackstone is a global leader in real estate investing. Blackstone's real estate business was founded in 1991 and has $230 billion of investor capital under management. Blackstone is the largest owner of commercial real estate globally, owning and operating assets across every major geography and sector, including logistics, multifamily and single-family housing, office, hospitality and retail. Our opportunistic funds seek to acquire undermanaged, well-located assets across the world. Blackstone's Core+ strategy comprises open-ended funds that invest in substantially stabilized real estate assets globally and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. (BREIT), a non-listed REIT that invests in U.S. income-generating assets. Blackstone Real Estate also operates one of the leading global real estate debt businesses, providing comprehensive financing solutions across the capital structure and risk spectrum, including management of Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE: BXMT).
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
FCPT | May 19, 2022
Four Corners Property Trust, a real estate investment trust primarily engaged in the ownership and acquisition of high-quality, net-leased restaurant and retail properties, is pleased to announce the acquisition of a NextCare Primary Care property for $1.8 million. The property is located in a strong retail corridor in Arizona and is corporate-operated under a net lease with approximately 7 years of term remaining. The transaction was priced at a 6.4% going-in cash capitalization rate, exclusive of transaction costs.
FCPT, headquartered in Mill Valley, CA, is a real estate investment trust primarily engaged in the ownership, acquisition and leasing of restaurant and retail properties. The Company seeks to grow its portfolio by acquiring additional real estate to lease, on a net basis, for use in the restaurant and retail industries.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Walker & Dunlop, Inc. | May 13, 2022
Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced that it structured $47,000,000 in financing for the development of The Line, a 219-unit, Class A+ multifamily project in Savannah, Georgia. Situated just three blocks from the Savannah River, the development is within walking distance to all of Savannah's outstanding retail and lifestyle amenities.
Located in Savannah's downtown area, the property is within the bounds of a designated Economic Opportunity Zone census tract. Opportunity zones were established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and encourage long-term investments in designated low-income areas by offering incentives in the form of lower or deferred capital gains taxes.
Led by Chris Rumul and Taylor Williams, Walker & Dunlop arranged the construction financing on behalf of the developer, Standard Communities, a leading national multifamily housing investor and developer and repeat client. Collaborating across the Walker & Dunlop platform, the team pooled resources from their FHA Finance and Capital Markets groups to identify the ideal financing source for their client. The resulting financing was sourced from a regional life insurance company and includes both construction and permanent financing in a single loan. The team worked to ensure the financing terms were consistent with opportunity zone guidance, securing a 12-year construction term with four years of interest-only payments.
We are incredibly proud to play a part in the development of such a unique project and are excited to bring this distinctive, elevated living experience to Savannah. Thanks to the diligent work by our funding partners, The Line will fulfill a much-needed demand for multifamily rentals in this rapidly growing area."
Jeffrey Jaeger, Co-Founder and Principal of Standard Communities
Standard's primary goal will be to maintain the integrity of the property's original structure while combining the benefits and amenities of a new construction, modern apartment community. The resulting community will include two buildings in total and will fit seamlessly into the old-meets-new vibe of downtown Savannah. The Line will feature a full upscale amenity package, including a terrace level with a pool, sundeck, fitness center, and grill area. The project will also include onsite parking, a clubroom with views of Downtown Savannah and the Savannah River, and resident storage. Savannah boasts a vibrancy that attracts young professionals, relocated families, and tourists. The region's dynamic economy has drawn large corporations, such as Gulfstream, Savannah's largest employer, which employs around 9,800 people at its production facility.
Walker & Dunlop is the third largest provider of capital to the U.S. multifamily market, originating $49 billion in transactions and lending over $42 billion for multifamily properties in 2021. With one of the strongest networks in the industry, the firm's 2021 brokered loan originations totaled $30 billion, a 170% increase over 2020.
About Walker & Dunlop
Walker & Dunlop is one of the largest providers of capital to the commercial real estate industry, enabling real estate owners and operators to bring their visions of communities — where Americans live, work, shop and play — to life. The power of our people, premier brand, and industry-leading technology makes us more insightful and valuable to our clients, providing an unmatched experience every step of the way. With over 1,300 employees across every major U.S. market, Walker & Dunlop has consistently been named one of Fortune's Great Places to Work and is committed to making the commercial real estate industry more inclusive and diverse while creating meaningful social, environmental, and economic change in our communities.