Valley Build-to-Rent Hybrids are Capturing the Eye of Lenders

By Angela Gonzales | Phoenix Business Journal

As the build-to-rent niche continues to become more popular with renters, homebuilders and investors, it’s also catching the eye of lenders.

These unique build-to-rent (BTR) products feature detached, single-family homes in a rental community loaded with amenities, including clubhouses, resort-style pools and dog parks.

Scottsdale-based Tower Capital, which connects developers with lenders, just arranged $87.22 million in construction financing for three BTR projects in the Valley, along with another $19.15 million in acquisition financing for a BTR townhome project in Charlotte, North Carolina, said Kyle McDonough, principal of Tower Capital.

“Today, the flow of capital — whether it’s debt and/or equity — that is targeting build for rent is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” McDonough said. “I can’t tell you the amount of money chasing these deals and it keeps getting more competitive.”

McDonough said he’s seeing more lenders becoming more competitive to win these deals.

Six months ago, McDonough said he was getting quotes from lenders that offered non-recourse construction loans covering 75% of development costs with interest rates in the low 6% range. Today, those quotes are coming in at 80% of costs in the high 5% interest rate ranges.

Tower Capital has closed more than $400 million in financing transactions for the BTR product, and has another $1 billion of projects in the pipeline in several states, including Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Two of the construction financing deals Tower Capital arranged were for Scottsdale-based The Empire Group, which is breaking ground this month and in September on two new communities in the West Valley.

Tower Capital arranged $27 million in construction financing for the 187-unit Village at BLVD in Avondale as well as $46.32 million in construction financing for the 272-unit Village at Paseo de Luces in Tolleson.

Richard Felker, founder of The Empire Group, said he just started construction on the Avondale project, with total development costs around $46 million. He expects to begin construction on the Tolleson project in September, which is expected to cost about $70 million to develop.

Both are expected to be delivered by fall 2022.

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