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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

Brookfield's Private REIT Resumes Acquisitions Amid Market Shifts

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Brookfield's non-traded Real Estate Income Trust (REIT) has seen significant investor withdrawals recently, similar to many of its competitors, reports Jon Banister. However, in a bold move to attract new investments, Brookfield has announced its first acquisitions since May 2022. This $1 billion fund has invested in three properties totaling $150 million.

The acquisitions include a $116 million student housing building in Atlanta, the Reflection community, which is a 25-story, 741-bed facility near Georgia State University that opened in 2022. Additionally, Brookfield purchased an 89-home townhouse community in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is set to close on a 92-unit built-to-rent community in Birmingham, Alabama, next week.

Dana Petitto, Brookfield REIT’s Portfolio Manager and Chief Operating Officer, explained in an interview that the firm’s strategy is to capitalize on attractive pricing opportunities. “We aim to buy when the pricing is attractive, something others aren’t doing right now,” she said.

Over the past two years, Brookfield REIT has concentrated on investing in credit positions to maintain liquidity, which amounted to $550 million at the end of Q1 before these acquisitions. This liquidity has been crucial in meeting investor redemption requests, which have surged across the nontraded REIT sector.

Petitto highlighted that the shift back to equity investments is timely as the equity markets gain favor. Strong underlying fundamentals in many property sectors, especially residential communities, combined with high interest rates and a reduced buying pool, have decreased property values, making acquisitions more attractive. According to Green Street's Commercial Property Price Index, apartment prices dropped over 6% year-over-year in May and are down 26% from their peak in March 2022.

Two of the three recent acquisitions were off-market, allowing Brookfield to negotiate favorable prices without competitive bidding. The smaller residential deals, totaling $34 million, were financed with Brookfield's equity, while the firm is securing a loan for the $116 million Atlanta deal. Petitto noted an improving debt market, with banks more willing to engage in financing discussions compared to six months ago.

The decision to acquire properties is a rare move in the nontraded REIT space currently, as many funds face shrinking capital bases due to higher investor redemptions than new fundraising. While some asset managers have restricted redemptions, Brookfield has continued to honor 100% of redemption requests despite slowed new funding. Fundraising dropped from $617 million in 2022 to $97 million in 2023, and $15 million in Q1 2024, while redemptions were $184 million last year and $51 million in Q1.

Petitto believes some investors were deterred by other firms limiting redemptions and anticipates continued net outflows in the short term. However, Brookfield hopes that being active buyers in the current market will attract new investors.

This strategy is not unique to Brookfield; Blackstone’s $59 billion nontraded REIT has also resumed acquisitions. According to Blackstone’s Global co-Head of Real Estate Nadeem Meghji, buyers and liquidity are returning to the market.

Despite these efforts, Petitto remains cautious. While Brookfield REIT plans more acquisitions in the near term, it will need to attract new investor capital to sustain this momentum. “We’re not going to run ourselves dry,” she stated, emphasizing the importance of balancing acquisitions with maintaining liquidity.

This shift towards luxury offerings and strategic acquisitions reflects a broader trend in the real estate market where high-quality, immersive experiences and properties are increasingly in demand. As the market dynamics evolve, firms like Brookfield are positioning themselves to leverage these opportunities and attract investment by capitalizing on current market conditions.


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