“We have had to let things go,” Greg Campbell, senior managing director at TruAmerica Multifamily, said on the Money at Play: Investment Strategies for 2018, 2017 and Beyond, panel at RealShare Apartments. “It was much better in 2015 and 2016.” The panel, moderated by Marc D. Renard, vice chairman of global capital markets group at Cushman & Wakefield, included Kevin Kaberna, senior managing director at Greystar Real Estate Partners; John Kennedy, managing director of the western region at Barings Real Estate Advisers; and Chris Hunt, senior director of acquisitions at New York Life Investors.

Kaberna added that the limited opportunities have driven up pricing, and, as a result, they won’t get caught in a bidding war. “We won’t win,” he said, adding that their partners appreciate the firm’s conservative approach. Kennedy agreed that it is difficult to be a buyer in this market. “As a buyer, it is hard to compete,” he said. “We aren’t buying a lot of core apartments, because the returns aren’t there.” One major challenge is buyers putting large non-refundable deposits on properties. Kennedy says that adds an extra layer of competition.

In general, off-market deals are preferred because of the competition, but there is risk with off-market deals because pricing can also be driven up. All of the investors on the panel agreed that they prefer brokers “under whisper” the price tag in an off-market transaction, but Hunt said that the always underwrite above the quote. “An under whisper is not that credible,” he said. “I think it is good guidance, but we tend to write to the higher end of that.” Kennedy added, “Most of us have a sense of how much something will trade.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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