NEW YORK CITY—The key to success in private equity real estate fundraising appears to be not only experience but also mass. Last month, Preqin said a handful of the most experienced PE real estate managers have raised the most capital in the past five years, and also have had the best track record for meeting or exceeding their fundraising goals. On Tuesday, the research firm, with headquarters in New York City and London, issued a report noting that the average size of closed-end private real estate funds was $573 million, up 28% year over year for the first half of 2014, but the number of funds that closed is down 30% compared to a year ago.
Seventy-four funds had closed as of June 30, compared to 106 in the first six months of 2013. However, Preqin reports that those that closed in the first six months of this year had secured a total of $41 billion in capital commitments, which compares favorably to the $32 billion of commitments garnered by a larger number of funds the year prior.
Further, Preqin data show that the 10 largest funds that closed in the first half of this year raised more than 25% of that total. It’s more evidence that the capital raised by PE funds increasingly is concentrated among fewer managers.
“The trend we observed in 2013 fundraising, of capital being concentrated among fewer managers, has continued in the first half of 2014,” says Andrew Moylan, head of real assets products at Preqin. “This suggests that larger, and often more established, fund managers are seeing greater success in the current fundraising market, with many institutional investors increasingly focused on committing capital to managers with a proven track record. Fundraising for emerging and smaller private real estate managers has become even more competitive in recent years, and this is further evidence that these managers may find raising capital for their funds challenging” for the rest of the year.
Thirty-three closed-end funds held a final close in the second quarter, raising an aggregate of $16 billion. That’s down from 41 funds closing on $25 billion in Q1. Also down is the average size of the fund for Q2: approximately $484 million in Q2 compared to nearly $610 million in the previous quarter.
Debt funds dominated the private real estate fundraising landscape in the most recent quarter, says Preqin. Seven debt-focused private real estate funds closed in the quarter, raising an aggregate $7.5 billion, significantly more than any other fund type. Accordingly, this fund type also dominated the top 10 among funds that closed during Q2. Although 13 value-added funds closed in the quarter, these vehicles only raised an aggregate of $4.5 billion.
The largest fund that held a final close in Q2 was Kildare European Partners I at $2 billion. Managed by Kildare Partners, the fund is targeting distressed opportunities in Western Europe. The largest US-targeted fund to close in Q2 was DRA Advisors‘ DRA Growth & Income Fund VIII at $1.35 billion with a value-add focus.
The number of funds being marketed as of July 1 rose to 451 vehicles, compared to 447 at the start of Q2. However, the capital targeted by these funds has decreased slightly from $166 billion in Q2 to $158 billion at present. Conversely, fund managers have hit an all-time high globally in their stores of dry powder: $212 billion as of June 30, up from the $186 billion at the end of last year which itself represented a new high.