With Cushman & Wakefield’s acquisition of Multi Housing Advisors, which was officially announced Monday, the global brokerage firm is now the largest multifamily brokerage platform in the Southeast.
Cushman & Wakefield, with headquarters in New York, London, and Singapore, now commands 23.8% of multifamily investment sales in the Southeast so far this year, and in 2015, the newly-joined firms combined for nearly $3 billion in transactions and captured 20% of the region’s multifamily sales. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“It makes us the dominant multifamily sales broker in the Southeast and allows us to begin to segment the market, both by product type and by geography, which we think is very important,” Noble Carpenter, Cushman & Wakefield president, Capital Markets, Americas, told Multifamily Executive on Monday .
In addition to expanding Cushman & Wakefield’s multifamily operation, the move benefits its clients across the platform, from institutional to professional equity to private capital investors, Carpenter says. “If somebody is trading out of an A product and wants to trade into a B product, we’re going to have teams that are talking to each other across the region,” he says.
MHA cofounders Josh Goldfarb and Marc Robinson will serve as Cushman & Wakefield’s U.S. multifamily leaders and will be based in Atlanta and Charlotte. The MHA leadership team also includes Jimmy Adams in Birmingham, Jordan McCarley in Charlotte, and Tyler Averitt and Robert Stickel in Atlanta. They join Cushman & Wakefield’s existing Southeast multifamily group led by Chris Spain, Michael Kemether, and Brandon Whitesell.
Carpenter says having Goldfarb and Robinson head the multifamily operation makes sense because of their experience. MHA, which was founded in 2002, has produced average sales growth of 55% and transaction volume totaling more than $5.9 billion in the past five years, with 70% of its business from recurring clients. Since its founding, MHA has sold more than 140,000 multifamily units through more than 850 individual transactions. The firm brings 13 brokerage professionals and a staff of 35 to Cushman & Wakefield, and adds on-the-ground multifamily capabilities with offices in Birmingham and Charlotte.
“Joining Cushman & Wakefield creates unlimited opportunities to serve clients across the Southeast and, collectively, to grow our geographic coverage and multifamily platform across the U.S.,” Robinson says. “The breadth and depth of our new team is truly remarkable and will be an enormous benefit to each segment of multifamily investors, offering them access to a wider scope of investment options.”
According to Carpenter, MHA was looking to expand its platform. The two companies began talks in 2015 and reached an agreement early this year, he says. “The opportunity to do it with Cushman & Wakefield seemed very attractive to them versus doing it on their own,” Carpenter adds.
Spain says the move will position Cushman & Wakefield for added success in the future. “During my 35-year career, multifamily housing has emerged as a leading product for the real estate investment community,” he says. “The ‘eat-what-you-kill’ brokerage model is antiquated and does not provide clients with comprehensive market information or sophisticated cooperative sales implementation. Our regional model and team compensation structure assure our clients of greater market intelligence and wider market exposure when selling their assets. This is the future for our business.”
In the short-term, Carpenter says, the acquisition gives Cushman & Wakefield a stronger multifamily presence. Looking more long-term, it’s a step toward national growth. He says the company is currently in discussions with numerous teams and platforms about further expansion. “We’re going to be expanding into other markets and truly creating a national multifamily platform,” he says.