12/12/2014 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Ramin Kamfar, chairman and CEO of Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (NYSE: BRG), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Bluerock Residential invests in well-located, institutional-quality apartment properties in growth markets. The company focuses on increasing value through improvements to properties and operations. Kamfar explained the attributes that separate Bluerock’s business strategy from other players in the multifamily sector.
“We’re a little unique in that we’re not just an income vehicle, we’re an income and growth vehicle, so we’re looking to deliver high current income,” Kamfar explained. He added that the company offers a dividend of around 9 percent and is also focusing on capital appreciation.
“We’re using a private equity strategy almost inside a public REIT vehicle, which is unique,” Kamfar noted.
Kamfar also discussed the company’s initial public offering (IPO) and subsequent activity in the capital markets. Bluerock Residential raised about $50 million in an IPO that closed in April, Kamfar said. A follow-on offering closed in October. The company has already invested the proceeds of the initial IPO, Kamfar said, and it expects to invest the remaining proceeds in the next few months.
Kamfar said the IPO was well received. “We’re showing significant improvement in all our metrics on the revenue side and funds from operation side,” he added.
Turning to Bluerock’s geographic focus, Kamfar stressed that the company looks for markets with strong employment growth because of its close correlation with demand for multifamily housing.
“We’re looking for specific employment drivers that are going to drive high disposable income jobs over the next decade,” he said. Kamfar pointed to markets affiliated with health care, education, technology and finance sectors as key locations expected to have solid future job growth.
“A lot of those markets happen to be in the southeast and in Texas, and that’s where our focus is,” Kamfar added.