LOS ANGELES—In this exclusive Q&A, GlobeSt.com sat down with TruAmerica president and CEO Bob Hart to find out his perspective of the multifamily market in the upcoming year, the latest happenings with TruAmerica, his newest venture, and where he is finding the most opportunities. Hart will speak on the Multifamily in Los Angeles panel at our upcoming RealShare Los Angeles conference on March 25 at the Hyatt Century Plaza Los Angeles.
GlobeSt.com: Multifamily was the major theme of 2013. Do you see it continuing to be a major theme of 2014, or will things begin to balance out?
Hart: I think multifamily has a lot of legs, but I have a dog in the fight because this is my business. I am a little biased. You really have to see more product coming out in tight markets like Southern California to maintain momentum and deal flow because when capital can’t find a home, people go elsewhere. I think the market is going to be driven by sellers who are willing to sell and opportunities coming from development.
GlobeSt.com: So, do you think we need more development in Los Angeles?
Hart: No, I think sometimes you run into the problem of overdevelopment. We are in a timely business, and right now the timing looks really good; however, there were a lot developers in the last cycle that looked horrible because they bought up buildings when the market was saturated and there were no renters. Two years later, the people who bought those same buildings were heroes. I think that in an area as vast as Southern California, people have choices and they can spread out. We are in a nice comfortable base of development.
GlobeSt.com: What can we expect the multifamily panel to cover at RealShare Los Angeles on March 25?
Bob Hart: We will talk about where the market is going in terms of values, and how that plays out in terms of opportunities and where those opportunities are. I also would like to talk about where we are in this cycle versus the last cycle and how people are navigating this higher value market.
GlobeSt.com: How is TruAmerica and what markets are you finding the best opportunities?
Hart: We are on our way to becoming a $1 billion company. We just closed a $200 million in deals, and we have more coming. We are just growing, so we are doing well. We cover all markets west of Denver. Right now, we have a concentration of deal flow in the Seattle metro area and the Denver metro area. But, we are looking at different markets all the time for opportunities.