Ramin Kamfar, chairman and CEO of Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (NYSE American: BRG), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference (held June 2-4).
Kamfar highlighted how Bluerock’s market and asset selection has always focused on the knowledge economy worker and the knowledge economy submarket. “If anything, during this pandemic they are going to be the beneficiaries. Demand for their services is up and they can work from home,” he said.
Bluerock is also benefiting from its affordable class-A product positioning in a live-work-play type of environment, Kamfar said, which produces high tenant incomes compared to rental rates. This means that in good times Bluerock can drive value through upgrades, but in challenging times it has downside protection, he added.
Kamfar noted that Bluerock is also fortunate to have a “significant amount” of cash and access to capital. The REIT has already signed up one post-COVID deal and is looking at additional opportunities. “We think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of as we go through this downturn,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bluerock hit pause on its value-add program of investing in existing properties and is now restarting the program on an individual property and market basis, Kamfar said.
Kamfar also pointed out that the multifamily sector had the shortest downturn and the fastest recovery during the Great Financial Crisis, and he expects a similar result in response to the current economic crisis. He added that Bluerock also expects housing purchases to decline.