As we emerge, fortunately, from the pandemic, including the recent Delta variant surge, it’s a good time to assess real estate investment opportunities if you’re looking to reinvest proceeds in a 1031 exchange transaction or seeking to invest cash as part of a diversified financial portfolio strategy.
Here’s how you could build a post-pandemic real estate investment portfolio, recognizing some of the new realities the pandemic has exposed.
Let’s say you, your family or your family office is looking to invest $1 million to $100 million, plus or minus. A prudent diversification strategy suggests you should allocate capital across different property types, asset classes and geographies. (Of course, diversification does not guarantee profits or protect against losses, past performance never guarantees future results, and income and appreciation are never assured with any investments, but real estate has proven to be a winning part of many investors’ alternative asset portfolios.)
Diversifying across property types and locations
A diversified investment approach right now could include a mix of industrial, multifamily and retail properties.
The pandemic has been particularly kind to industrial properties, namely those occupied by logistics and shipping companies, and properties that serve as distribution hubs for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. These assets, as a class, have performed especially well the past two years as the trend toward e-commerce accelerated drastically during the pandemic—a period in which many people who previously had resisted home delivery of goods and services finally embraced the concept that was already growing year-over-year.
Increased demand for delivery is expected to continue to have positive long-term implications for industrial real estate, including last-mile distribution and logistics, for years to come. So industrial/distribution and logistics properties should be seriously considered as part of a real estate investment portfolio whether considering a 1031 exchange or as a direct investment.
Multifamily properties have also performed relatively well during the pandemic, thanks to help for tenants in the form of direct aid and rental payment assistance, as well as forbearance from landlords. Already, the multifamily market is experiencing higher rents as the pandemic recedes and the return to work continues, according to Yardi Matrix, and as units turn over and rents reset at new levels.
Retail properties have been a mixed bag during the pandemic, with enclosed malls performing the worst, shopping centers with big-box tenants somewhere in the middle, and grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers faring the best. Net-leased assets, where the tenants pay some or all of the property expenses including taxes and insurance in addition to rent, generally have outperformed the market as a whole. Net-leased assets include freestanding drugstores, health services operations such as dialysis centers, and fast-food restaurants with drive-throughs. These types of assets should be seriously considered for inclusion in a diverse real estate investment portfolio when seeking 1031 exchange investments and direct cash investments into real estate.
Using DSTs as a vehicle to hold diverse investments
An effective way to hold post-pandemic real estate investments could be Delaware Statutory Trusts. DSTs are a vehicle for direct investment or for a turnkey solution as part of a 1031 exchange. Investors are often deploying as little as $25,000 into DSTs and as much as $50,000,000-plus, so they can work for a wide range of accredited investors (typically defined as having a net worth of over $1,000,000).
With DSTs, investors can own an interest in diverse real estate assets without the hassles and headaches of sole ownership and management, which entails the burdens of being a landlord, i.e., tenants, toilets and trash.
DSTs can hold title to all manner of investment real estate. The investment sponsor is responsible for day-to-day asset management, with investors participating passively in the form of potential monthly distributions (positive cash flow) by direct deposit into their checking or savings accounts. There also is the potential to generate appreciation just like with sole ownership, although it is important to note that as with all real estate investments, positive cash flow and appreciation are never guaranteed and could be lower than anticipated.
There are also the other tax advantages of direct real estate investment, including depreciation deductions, to help shelter rental income. Plus, DSTs are 1031-exchange eligible, unlike many other real estate investment structures, which means that any capital gains on the sale of assets can be deferred if the proceeds are reinvested into other income or investment properties.
You could build a diverse portfolio of real estate investments across property types and geographies by investing in multiple DSTs. Using the $1 million hypothetical investment amount noted above, a portfolio could include:
- Five $100,000 investments in different multifamily apartment properties in various Sunbelt states;
- One $150,000 investment and one $100,000 in different net-leased medical facilities in Texas;
- One $250,000 investment in an industrial/distribution facility in the Midwest.
The bottom line
For all the challenges presented by the pandemic, the crisis is illuminating potential investment opportunities that could have stronger prospects long term. Certainly, the pandemic has demonstrated the resilience of investment real estate as an asset class, with lessons for building a real estate portfolio that can possibly endure market shifts and swings.
Because real estate is so integral to the ways we live, work and play, income and investment properties are likely to remain attractive for many investors interested in diversification and the pursuit of income and appreciation well into the future. The issue, as always, is identifying the opportunities that are best suited to meet your personal financial and tax goals and objectives.
Dwight Kay is founder and CEO of Kay Properties and Investments, LLC, which operates a DST and 1031 exchange property investment marketplace online.