Are Condos Houston’s Next Big Play?
ARA managing director Adam Allen just closed two mega condo capitalizations and says they’ve got the most attractive metrics in the metro. (Nothing like a little Monday morning alliteration.)
There has been little condo development for five years, which Adam (here with his family in Crested Butte, CO) says has created the largest supply/demand imbalance of any product type. (Even though Girl Scout cookies are in demand, they're not considered a product type.) That's opened a great window to build, and he sees lots of equity wanting into the space. He recently closed a $50M construction loan for a high-rise condo conversion (the River Oaks Highrise) and a $25M equity investment for a ground-up high-rise condo (Pelican Builder's Westcreek Tower by the River Oaks District).
This has been a record-breaking year for Adam: his team (including analyst Brett Benton, snapped with Adam this morning) has arranged $280M in equity for developments (18 deals) and $200M in debt (six deals)—not always multifamily, although that’s been the bulk of activity—in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Midland. (The expansion beyond Houston is indicative of how hot things are now.) Adam says that’s a 50% increase over 2013 volume, which was already 50% over 2012. He already has 10 to 12 equity deals closing in the first half of 2015, so he wouldn’t be surprised if it's another banner year. He’s got his eye on oil prices and Houston’s overall economy, though—they could stall transactions.