GFH Financial acquires high-rise in Baltimore for $90 million

MANAMA, BAHRAIN: GFH Financial Group has expanded its US multifamily residential portfolio after acquiring a third asset, a luxury high-rise in Baltimore, Maryland, for an estimated $90 million.

The acquisition diversifies GFH’s US assets and comes amid increasing demand for US multifamily residential properties among renters.

GFH acquired the 17-story property in Baltimore in a Sharia-compliant joint venture with Broadshore Capital Partners. Broadshore is majority owned by Guardian Life, a New York-based Fortune 500 Company with more than $71 billion of assets under management.

The recently refurbished high-rise is in Baltimore’s downtown. The building’s amenities include a health club and a rooftop swimming pool that service loft-style apartments with private balconies.

“The US multifamily residential property sector is a significant opportunity for GFH and our investors. The segment demonstrated clear resilience during the pandemic compared to most other parts of the real estate market which experienced a decline. Investment in the multifamily space remained resilient during COVID because of the defensive nature of the sector,” said Razi Al Murbati, CEO at GFH Capital SA.

Over $140 billion of capital was deployed in the multifamily sector during 2020. The US multifamily market experienced a turning point in March 2021, with multifamily rents rising 0.6% year-on-year. Multifamily properties are particularly popular in certain parts of the US and GFH’s real estate strategy aims to capitalise on the trend.

Al Murbati said: “We are aiming to acquire a diverse set of residential properties across the US which will vary in terms of location, size, and local demographics to generate stable cash flows. Our ambitious but calculated real estate strategy favours resilience and is focused on delivering growth and value creation for stakeholders. Our total assets and funds under management now exceed $13 billion.”

GFH targets US multifamily residential properties based on several key factors. Assets are located in areas with strong medical centers and education facilities to support stable population growth. There is also an increasing demand for suburban living as the preference for larger living spaces, property amenities, outdoor space are becoming priorities for renters, which has been further accelerated due to COVID.

Assets are located in Sun Belt states, which stretch across the southern and southwestern portions of the US. The US has been witnessing a migratory shift to these states for several years. Almost half of all population growth in the country between 2010 and 2016 happened in the 22 metro areas of the Sun Belt regions.

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