A Contrarian Conviction in the Wake of the Great Recession

Background

In the years following the Great Recession, Florida was ground zero for the housing crisis, with foreclosure rates sharply above the national average and communities suffering from the wealth destruction caused by the housing bust.  As a result, Florida multifamily was redlined by investors and lenders.

Opportunity

This backdrop left a void of investment capital and multifamily buyers, despite the fact that the single family/condo market collapse drove a significant shift from homeownership to rentership.  The reduction in supply through the conversion of luxury multifamily into condos during the pre-crisis years, further underpinned the recovery, and when Florida’s underlying economies gained momentum in 2012-2015, rent growth significantly outpaced the national average.  After research and due diligence, Northland announced our intent to target Florida generally, and Fort Myers, Melbourne, and Palm Beach County, specifically, for acquisitions.

Execution 

Northland acquired 13 Florida communities between 2011 and 2015, with a primary focus on Fort Myers.  Fort Myers offered a compelling opportunity to achieve meaningful scale at deeply discounted prices, particularly because the high-end units taken out of inventory and sold as condominiums left only nine class-A apartment communities.  Northland tried to acquire all of them, and was successful in buying six.  The acquisitions exemplified several of Northland’s deal targeting strategies including a foreclosure auction, best-in-class town jewel, a deep value-add, and a broken condo deal.

Results

Northland’s acquisitions in Fort Myers produced the highest single-market consolidated returns in the firm’s history.