I am so proud of the guests we get on the show each month, and this month is no exception.
I admit that I made a mistake last year when I said that real estate crowdfunding was just a fad. Now, it looks like crowdfunding can challenge and perhaps even surpass securitized financing and Wall Street loan shops as a strategy to capitalize real estate transactions.
I interviewed Heather Schwarz, co-founder and chief strategy officer of the up-and-coming technology firm EarlyShares. She told us that there are about 120 real estate crowdfunding sites in the U.S. and that EarlyShares has the largest market share.
Large real estate companies as well as individual investors are using EarlyShares to capitalize their transactions. We broke news on the show that day: EarlyShares has begun to market $1.26 million in mezzanine loan participation for the 200-unit Racquet Club Apartments in Lancaster, California. The return for accredited investors is 9 percent and the minimum investment is $25,000, according to the offering by Pillar, an affiliate of Guggenheim Partners.
Also on the show was Joe Erwin, senior vice president at Regions Bank. Joe heads up the bank’s real estate owned (REO) department for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
According to Joe, commercial real estate foreclosures are down because we are at the top of the market cycle. As we start moving past this portion of the cycle and into a potentially less robust part of the real estate cycle, foreclosures in the commercial sector can be expected to increase. Regions has been working tirelessly to make sure that its loan portfolio is managed to limit the number of bad loans.
Experience from the last cycle showed Regions that it needs to make sure its borrowers were responsible in the previous cycle. It does not bank with people with a history of adverse behavior with other banks.
Regions also looks to work out loans rather than foreclose because the foreclosure process and taking back the property have a high cost to the bank. Joe advised that borrowers should let their banker know immediately if they foresee any problems and to start working out those issues as soon as possible. This type of proactive approach will serve the borrower well should there continue to be problems with the loan or on loans in the future.
Regular guest Carlos Rosso, president of The Related Group’s condo development division, also appeared this month.
Carlos indicated that while there is a slowdown in buyers from overseas, it is more than being offset by a rise in U.S.-based buyers from out of state (New Yorkers are back) as well as an increasing number of local buyers.
Related is shifting its focus and is entering the Fort Lauderdale market with Auberge Beach Residences. Carlos said that a project of Auberge’s size and scope could only be built in Broward County; project sales prices make it a bargain compared to other projects of comparable scope in Miami-Dade County. ?
To listen to these and other interviews, go to our website, friedonbusiness.com. We interview thought leaders every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. on 880 AM. Listen live by visiting bit.ly/jimlive.