SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D. C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _______ to _______
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Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:
Title of each class
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Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act:
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Series B Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share
Warrants to Purchase Shares of Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ◻
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Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020, the last business day of registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $
Number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s
classes of common stock, as of February 11, 2021:
Class A Common Stock:
Class C Common Stock:
BLUEROCK RESIDENTIAL GROWTH REIT, INC.
December 31, 2020
Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are not historical facts (including any statements concerning investment objectives, other plans and objectives of management for future operations or economic performance, or assumptions or forecasts related thereto) are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”); and pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”). These statements are only predictions. We caution that forward-looking statements are not guarantees. Actual events or our investments and results of operations could differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “may,” “should,” “expect,” “could,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “continue,” “predict,” “potential” or the negative of such terms and other comparable terminology. We intend for these forward-looking statements to be covered by the applicable safe harbor provisions created by Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act and the PSLRA.
The forward-looking statements included herein are based upon our current expectations, plans, estimates, assumptions and beliefs that involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Assumptions relating to the foregoing involve judgments with respect to, among other things, future economic, competitive and market conditions and future business decisions, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond our control. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, our actual results and performance could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Currently, one of the most significant factors, however, is the potential adverse effect of the current pandemic of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) on the financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance of the Company and its tenants of our properties, business partners within our network and service providers, as well as the real estate market and the global economy and financial markets. The extent to which COVID-19 impacts the Company and its tenants will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the scope, severity and duration of the pandemic, the actions taken to contain the pandemic or mitigate its impact (including governmental actions that may vary by jurisdiction, such as mandated business closing; “stay-at-home” orders; limits on group activity; and actions to protect residential tenants from eviction), and the direct and indirect economic effects of the pandemic and containment measures, among others. Moreover, you should interpret many of the risks identified in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as the risks set forth below, as being heightened as a result of the ongoing and numerous adverse impacts of COVID-19.
Additional factors that could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future prospects include, but are not limited to:
|●||the competitive environment in which we operate;|
|●||the use of proceeds of the Company’s securities offerings;|
|●||real estate risks, including fluctuations in real estate values and the general economic climate in local markets and competition for tenants in such markets;|
|●||risks associated with geographic concentration of our investments;|
|●||decreased rental rates or increasing vacancy rates;|
|●||our ability to lease units in newly acquired or newly constructed apartment properties;|
|●||potential defaults on or non-renewal of leases by tenants;|
|●||creditworthiness of tenants;|
|●||our ability to obtain financing for and complete acquisitions under contract under the contemplated terms, or at all;|
|●||development and acquisition risks, including rising and unanticipated costs and failure of such acquisitions and developments to perform in accordance with projections;|
|●||the timing of acquisitions and dispositions;|
|●||the performance of our network of leading regional apartment owner/operators with which we invest, including through controlling positions in joint ventures;|
|●||potential natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods;|
|●||national, international, regional and local economic conditions;|
|●||Board determination as to timing and payment of dividends, and our ability to pay future distributions at the dividend rates we have paid historically;|
|●||the general level of interest rates;|
|●||potential changes in the law or governmental regulations that affect us and interpretations of those laws and regulations, including changes in real estate and zoning or tax laws, and potential increases in real property tax rates;|
|●||financing risks, including the risks that our cash flows from operations may be insufficient to meet required payments of principal and interest and we may be unable to refinance our existing debt upon maturity or obtain new financing on attractive terms or at all;|
|●||lack of or insufficient amounts of insurance;|
|●||our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT;|
|●||litigation, including costs associated with prosecuting or defending claims and any adverse outcomes; and|
|●||possible environmental liabilities, including costs, fines or penalties that may be incurred due to necessary remediation of contamination of properties presently owned or previously owned by us or a subsidiary owned by us or acquired by us.|
Forward-looking statements are found throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including under the headings “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We caution investors not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect our management’s view only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.
The representations, warranties, and covenants made by us in any agreement filed as an exhibit to this Annual Report on Form 10-K are made solely for the benefit of the parties to the agreement, including, in some cases, for the purpose of allocating risk among the parties to the agreement, and should not be deemed to be representations, warranties, or covenants to or with any other parties. Moreover, these representations, warranties, or covenants should not be relied upon as accurately describing or reflecting the current state of our affairs.
Risk Factor Summary
An investment in our securities involves various risks. Some of the material risks include those set forth below. You should consider carefully these risks, and those discussed under “Risk Factors,” before purchasing our securities.
|●||The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”), or the future outbreak of other highly infectious or contagious diseases, could materially and adversely impact or disrupt our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance.|
|●||Our current portfolio consists primarily of apartment communities concentrated in certain markets, and we expect that our portfolio going forward will consist primarily of the same. Any adverse developments in local economic conditions or the demand for apartment units in these markets may negatively impact our operating results.|
|●||If we are unable to identify suitable investments, then we may not be able to achieve our investment objectives or pay distributions.|
|●||Adverse economic conditions may negatively affect our returns and profitability, and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.|
|●||We have very limited sources of capital other than cash from property operations and the proceeds of offerings of our securities to meet our primary liquidity requirements. As a result, we may not be able to pay our short-term debt upon maturity or other liabilities and obligations when they come due other than with the net proceeds of an offering, which may limit our ability to fully consummate our business plan and diversify our portfolio.|
|●||We may be limited in our ability to diversify our investments.|
|●||We have used and will continue to use mortgage and other indebtedness to partially finance our company, which increases the risk to our business. Our leverage policy has been adopted by our board of directors and is therefore subject to change without stockholder consent.|
|●||During certain periods of our operations, we have funded distributions from offering proceeds, borrowings and the sale of assets to the extent distributions exceeded our earnings or cash flows from operations, and may do so in the future if we are unable to make distributions with our cash flows from our operations. There is no limit on the amount of offering proceeds we may use to fund distributions. Distributions paid from sources other than cash flow or funds from operations may constitute a return of capital to our stockholders. Rates of distribution may not be indicative of our operating results.|
|●||We depend on our key employees. In particular, our success depends to a significant degree upon the contributions of Messrs. Kamfar, Babb, MacDonald, Ruddy, Vohs, and DiFranco, as well as Mr. Konig. There is no guarantee that our key employees will remain employed with us for any specified period of time, and will not engage in competitive activities if they cease to be employed with us. The departure or the loss of the services of any such key employee could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to effectively operate our business.|
|●||While we expect to maintain control over our properties, we will rely on members of our network for the day-to-day management and development of our real estate investments.|
|●||Stockholders will have limited control over changes in our policies and day-to-day operations, which increases the uncertainty and risks you face as a stockholder. In addition, our Board of Directors may approve changes to our policies without your approval.|
|●||The market price and trading volume of our Class A common stock has been volatile at times following our initial public offering (the “IPO”) and has frequently traded at a discount to the IPO price at times since the IPO, and these trends may continue following an offering.|
|●||There is no public market for our Series B Preferred Stock or Warrants, or for the Series T Preferred Stock, and we currently have no plan to list the Series B Preferred Stock, the Warrants, or the Series T Preferred Stock on a securities exchange. If holders are able to sell the Series B Preferred Stock, Warrants, or Series T Preferred Stock, they may have to be sold at a substantial discount.|
|●||Holders of Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock, Series C Preferred Stock, Series D Preferred Stock and/or Series T Preferred Stock should not expect us to redeem all or any such shares on the date they first become redeemable or on any particular date after they become redeemable. Any decision to propose a redemption will depend upon, among other things, our evaluation of our capital position and general market conditions at the time. We would likely choose to exercise our optional redemption right only when prevailing interest rates have declined, which would adversely affect the ability of holders of shares of the applicable series of preferred stock to reinvest proceeds from the redemption in a comparable investment with an equal or greater yield to the yield on such series of preferred stock had their shares not been redeemed.|
|●||There are numerous conflicts of interest between the interests of stockholders and our interests or the interests of Bluerock and its affiliates, including conflicts arising out of (a) competing demands for the time and services of certain of our officers, and of Bluerock personnel that work for us and our affiliates under the Administrative Services Agreement, to our activities, (b) allocation of investment opportunities between us and investment vehicles affiliated with Bluerock, (c) purchase or sale of apartment properties, including from or to Bluerock or its affiliates and (d) determinations of rental expense sharing between Bluerock and us under the Leasehold Cost-Sharing Agreement.|
|●||We have invested and anticipate that we will continue to invest in the redevelopment of existing properties and the development of new properties. These investments involve risks beyond those presented by stabilized, income-producing properties. These risks may diminish the return to our stockholders.|
|●||We may fail to maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. We would then be subject to corporate level taxation and we would not be required to pay any distributions to our stockholders.|
If we are unable to effectively manage the impact of these and other risks, our ability to meet our investment objectives would be substantially impaired. In turn, the value of our securities and our ability to make distributions would be materially reduced.
Item 1. Business
Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (“we,” “us,” or the “Company”) was incorporated on July 25, 2008 under the laws of the state of Maryland.
We have elected to be treated, and currently qualify, as a real estate investment trust (or “REIT”) for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, we generally are not subject to corporate-level income taxes. To maintain our REIT status, we are required, among other requirements, to distribute annually at least 90% of our “REIT taxable income,” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), to our stockholders. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we would be subject to federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate tax rates. We were incorporated to raise capital and acquire a diverse portfolio of residential real estate assets.
Unless otherwise indicated or the context requires otherwise, all references to “the Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” mean Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc., a Maryland corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, including, without limitation, Bluerock Residential Holdings, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership of which we are the sole general partner, which we refer to as our Operating Partnership. We refer to Bluerock Real Estate, L.L.C., a Delaware limited liability company, and its affiliate, Bluerock Real Estate Holdings, LLC, together as Bluerock or BRE, and we refer to our former external manager, BRG Manager, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, as our former Manager. Both Bluerock and our former Manager are affiliated with the Company. References to our shares of Class A common stock on a “fully diluted basis” includes all outstanding shares of our Class A common stock, shares of our Class C common stock, units of limited partnership interest in our Operating Partnership, or OP Units, and long-term incentive plan units in our Operating Partnership, or LTIP Units, whether vested or unvested.
On October 31, 2017, we became an internally-managed REIT as a result of the completion of the management internalization transactions (the “Internalization”), and we are no longer externally managed by our former Manager. The owners of the former Manager are referred to as the Contributors.
Substantially all our business is conducted through our Operating Partnership.
The principal executive offices of our Company and the former Manager are located at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, 32nd Floor, New York, New York 10105. Our telephone number is (212) 843-1601.
Investments in Real Estate
As of December 31, 2020, we owned interests in fifty-nine real estate properties, consisting of thirty-seven consolidated operating properties and twenty-two properties held through preferred equity, mezzanine loan and ground lease investments. Of the property interests held through preferred equity, mezzanine loan and ground lease investments, five are under development, three are in lease-up and fourteen properties are stabilized. The fifty-nine properties contain an aggregate of 17,862 units, comprised of 12,722 consolidated operating units and 5,140 units through preferred equity, mezzanine loan and ground lease investments. As of December 31, 2020, our consolidated operating properties were approximately 95.4% occupied. For more information regarding our investments, see “Item 2. Properties”.
Business and Growth Strategies
Our principal business objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted investment returns by assembling a high-quality portfolio of apartment properties located in demographically attractive growth markets and by implementing our investment strategies and our “Live/Work/Play Initiatives” to achieve sustainable long-term growth in both our core funds from operations and net asset value.
Invest in Institutional-Quality Apartment Properties. We acquire institutional-quality apartment properties where we believe we can create long-term value for our stockholders utilizing the following investment strategies.
|●||Value-Add. We invest in well-located institutional-quality apartment properties with strong and stable cash flows in demographically attractive knowledge economy growth markets where we believe there exists significant potential for medium-term capital appreciation through renovation or redevelopment, to reposition the asset and drive future rental growth.|
|●||Opportunistic. We invest in properties available at opportunistic prices (i.e., at prices we believe are below those available in an otherwise efficient market) that exhibit some characteristics of distress, such as operational inefficiencies, significant deferred capital maintenance or broken capital structures providing an opportunity for a substantial portion of total return attributable to appreciation in value.|
|●||Invest-to-Own. We selectively invest in development of Class A properties in target markets where we believe we can capture significant development premiums upon completion. We generally use a mezzanine loan or convertible preferred equity structure which provides income during the development stage and/or the ability to capture development premiums at completion by exercising our conversion rights to take ownership.|
Invest in Class A Apartment Properties. We intend to continue to acquire primarily Class A apartment properties targeting the high disposable income renter by choice, where we believe we can create long-term value growth for our stockholders.
Focus on Growth Markets. We intend to continue to focus on demographically attractive growth markets, which we define as markets with strong employment drivers in industries creating high disposable income jobs over the long term. Employment growth is highly correlated with apartment demand; therefore, we believe that selecting markets with job growth significantly above the national average will provide high potential for increased rental demand leading to revenue growth and attractive risk-adjusted returns.
Implement our Value Creation Strategies. We intend to continue to focus on creating value at our properties utilizing our Value-Add, Opportunistic and Invest-to-Own investment strategies in order to maximize our return on investment. We work with each member of our network to evaluate property needs along with value-creation opportunities and create an asset-specific business plan to best position or reposition each property to drive rental growth and asset values. We then provide an aggressive asset management presence to manage our network partner and ensure execution of the plan, with the goal of driving rental growth and values.
Implement our Live/Work/Play Initiatives. We intend to continue to implement our amenities and attributes to transform the apartment community from a purely functional product (i.e., as solely a place to live), to a lifestyle product (i.e., as a place to live, interact, and socialize). Our Live/Work/Play initiatives are property specific, and generally consist of attributes that go beyond traditional features, including highly amenitized common areas, cosmetic and architectural improvements, technology, music and other community-oriented activities to appeal to our residents’ desire for a “sense of community” by creating places to gather, socialize and interact in an amenity-rich environment. We believe this creates an enhanced perception of value among residents, allowing for premium rental rates and improved resident retention.
Diversify Across Markets, Strategies and Investment Size. We will seek to grow our high-quality portfolio of apartment properties diversified by geography and by investment strategy and by size (typically ranging from $50 to $100 million), in order to manage concentration risk, while driving both current income and capital appreciation throughout the portfolio. Our network enables us to diversify across multiple markets and multiple strategies efficiently, without the logistical burden and time delay of building operating infrastructure in multiple markets and across multiple investment strategies.
Selectively Harvest and Redeploy Capital. On an opportunistic basis and subject to compliance with certain REIT restrictions, we intend to sell properties in cases where we have successfully executed our value creation plans and where we believe the investment has limited additional upside relative to other opportunities, in order to harvest profits and to reinvest proceeds to maximize stockholder value.
Summary of Investments and Dispositions
The following table presents a summary of our investments during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018:
The Links at Plum Creek
Castle Rock, CO
Daytona Beach, FL
Lake Jackson, TX
Veranda at Centerfield
North Creek Apartments(1)
Wayford at Concord(1)
The Park at Chapel Hill(2)
Chapel Hill, NC
Las Vegas, NV
Mount Juliet, TN
Las Vegas, NV
The District at Scottsdale
Falls at Forsyth
Park on the Square(1)
Carrington at Perimeter Park
Cielo on Gilbert
|(1)||The Company’s investment in the property is through a preferred equity investment with an unaffiliated third party.|
|(2)||The property is a development project.|
|(3)||Refer to Note 14 for further information regarding the Zoey ground lease.|
The following table presents a summary of our dispositions during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018:
Wesley Village II(1)
Fort Worth, TX
Marquis at Crown Ridge
San Antonio, TX
Marquis at Stone Oak
San Antonio, TX
Marquis at TPC
San Antonio, TX
Enders Place at Baldwin Park
Cade Boca Raton
Boca Raton, FL
|(1)||Sale of undeveloped parcel of land.|
|(2)||Preferred equity investment or equity investment. Refer to Note 7 for further information.|
We intend to continue to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. The Code generally requires that a REIT annually distribute at least 90% of its REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding any net capital gain, and imposes tax on any taxable income retained by a REIT, including capital gains.
To satisfy the requirements for qualification as a REIT and generally not be subject to federal income and excise tax, we intend to continue to make regular distributions of all or substantially all of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to dividends paid, to our stockholders out of assets legally available for such purposes. All future distributions will be determined at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors (the “Board”) on a quarterly basis. When determining the amount of future distributions, we expect that our Board will consider, among other factors, (i) the amount of cash generated from our operating activities, (ii) our expectations of future operating cash flows, (iii) our determination of near-term cash needs for acquisitions of new properties, development investments, general property capital improvements and debt repayments, (iv) our ability to continue to access additional sources of capital, (v) the requirements of Maryland law, (vi) the amount required to be distributed to maintain our status as a REIT and to reduce any income and excise taxes that we otherwise would be required to pay and (vii) any limitations on our distributions contained in our credit or other agreements.
Holders of shares of 8.250% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Series A Preferred Stock”), will be entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock when, as and if authorized by our Board and declared by us from the end of the most recent dividend period for which dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock have been paid, payable quarterly in arrears on each January 5th, April 5th, July 5th and October 5th of each year, commencing on January 5, 2016, to holders of record on each December 25th, March 25th, June 25th and September 25th, respectively. From the date of original issue to, but not including, October 21, 2022, we will pay dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock at the rate of 8.250% per annum of the $25.00 liquidation preference per share (equivalent to the fixed annual amount of $2.0625 per share). Commencing October 21, 2022, we will pay cumulative cash dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock at an annual dividend rate of the initial rate increased by 2.0% of the liquidation preference per annum, which will increase by an additional 2.0% of the liquidation preference per annum on each subsequent anniversary thereafter, subject to a maximum annual dividend rate of 14.0%.
Holders of shares of Series B Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Series B Preferred Stock”), are entitled to receive, when and as authorized by our Board and declared by us out of legally available funds, cumulative cash dividends on each share of Series B Preferred Stock at an annual rate of six percent (6%) of the initial stated value of $1,000 per share (the “Stated Value”). Dividends on each share of Series B Preferred Stock will begin accruing on, and will be cumulative from, the date of issuance or the end of the most recent dividend period for which dividends on the Series B Preferred Stock have been paid, payable monthly in arrears on the 5th day of each month to holders of record on the 25th day of the prior month; provided, however, that any such dividend may vary among holders of Series B Preferred Stock and may be prorated with respect to any shares of Series B Preferred Stock that were outstanding less than the total number of days in the dividend period immediately preceding the applicable dividend payment date, with the amount of any such prorated dividend being computed on the basis of the actual number of days in such dividend period during which such shares of Series B Preferred Stock were outstanding.
Holders of shares of 7.625% Series C Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Series C Preferred Stock”), will be entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends on the Series C Preferred Stock when, as and if authorized by our Board and declared by us from and including the date of original issue or the end of the most recent dividend period for which dividends on the Series C Preferred Stock have been paid, payable quarterly in arrears on each January 5th, April 5th, July 5th and October 5th of each year, commencing on October 5, 2016, to holders of record on each December 25th, March 25th, June 25th and September 25th, respectively. From the date of original issuance to, but not including, July 19, 2023, we will pay dividends on the Series C Preferred Stock at the rate of 7.625% per annum of the $25.00 liquidation preference per share (equivalent to the fixed annual amount of $1.90625 per share). Commencing July 19, 2023, we will pay cumulative cash dividends on the Series C Preferred Stock at an annual dividend rate of the initial rate increased by 2.0% of the liquidation preference per annum, which will increase by an additional 2.0% of the liquidation preference per annum on each subsequent anniversary thereafter, subject to a maximum annual dividend rate of 14.0%.
Holders of shares of 7.125% Series D Cumulative Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Series D Preferred Stock”), will be entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends on the Series D Preferred Stock when, as and if authorized by our Board and declared by us from and including the date of original issue or the end of the most recent dividend period for which dividends on the Series D Preferred Stock have been paid, payable quarterly in arrears on each January 5th, April 5th, July 5th and October 5th of each year, commencing on January 5, 2017, to holders of record on each December 25th, March 25th, June 25th and September 25th, respectively. From the date of original issue, we will pay dividends on the Series D Preferred Stock at the rate of 7.1250% per annum of the $25.00 liquidation preference per share (equivalent to the fixed annual amount of $1.78125 per share).
Holders of shares of Series T Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Series T Preferred Stock”), are entitled to receive, when and as authorized by our Board and declared by us out of legally available funds, the following:
Holders of shares of Class A common stock, $0.01 par value per share (the “Class A common stock”), and Class C common stock $0.01 par value per share (the “Class C common stock”), will be entitled to receive cash dividends when, as and if authorized by our Board and declared by us. The common share dividend is paid on a quarterly basis, currently at an annual dividend rate of $0.65 per common share. The Board considered a number of factors in setting the current common stock dividend rate, including but not limited to achieving a sustainable dividend covered by core funds from operation (“CFFO”), multifamily and small cap peer dividend rates and payout ratios, providing financial flexibility for the Company, and achieving an appropriate balance between the retention of capital to invest and grow net asset value and the importance of current distributions.
We cannot assure you that we will generate sufficient cash flows to make distributions to our stockholders, or that we will be able to sustain those distributions. If our operations do not generate sufficient cash flow to allow us to satisfy the REIT distribution requirements, we may be required to fund distributions from working capital, offering proceeds, borrow funds, sell assets, make a taxable distribution of our equity or debt securities, or reduce such distributions. Our distribution policy enables us to review the alternative funding sources available to us from time to time. Our actual results of operations will be affected by a number of factors, including the revenues we receive from our properties, our operating expenses, interest expense, the ability of our tenants to meet their obligations and unanticipated expenditures. For more information regarding risk factors that could materially adversely affect our actual results of operations, please see “Item 1A — Risk Factors.”
Our investments are subject to various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, including, among other things, zoning regulations, land use controls, environmental controls relating to air and water quality, noise pollution and indirect environmental impacts such as increased motor vehicle activity. We believe that we have all permits and approvals necessary under current law to operate our investments.
As an owner of real estate, we are subject to various environmental laws of federal, state and local governments. Compliance with existing laws has not had a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations, and management does not believe it will have such an impact in the future. However, we cannot predict the impact of unforeseen environmental contingencies or new or changed laws or regulations on properties in which we hold an interest, or on properties that may be acquired directly or indirectly in the future.
We believe our employees are one of our greatest resources. In order to attract and retain high performing individuals, we are committed to partnering with our employees to provide opportunities for their professional development and promote their well-being. To that end, we have undertaken various initiatives, including the following:
|●||launching an Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance Initiative to codify and disclose the Company’s commitment to good corporate citizenship, including the appointment of an internal corporate responsibility committee in support the Company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, health and safety, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and other public policy matters;|
|●||providing department-specific training, access to online training seminars and opportunities to participate in industry conferences;|
|●||providing annual reviews and regular feedback to assist in employee development and providing opportunities for employees to provide suggestions to management and safely register complaints;|
|●||providing family leave, for example, for the birth or adoption of a child, as well as sick leave;|
|●||focusing on creating a workplace that values employee health and safety;|
|●||committing to the full inclusion of all qualified employees and applicants and providing equal employment opportunities to all persons, in accordance with the principles and requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the principles and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and|
|●||recognizing the importance and contributions of a diverse workforce, with an appreciation for the unique perspectives and insights offered by diverse backgrounds.|
Our current business consists of investing in and operating multifamily communities. Substantially all our consolidated net income (loss) is from investments in multifamily real estate properties that we own through co-investment ventures or invest in through multifamily real estate loans. We evaluate operating performance on an individual property investment level and based on the properties’ similar economic characteristics. We view our real estate assets as one industry segment, and, accordingly, aggregate our properties into one reportable segment.
We electronically file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports with the SEC. We also have filed with the SEC registration statements on Form S-3 (of which File Nos. 333-203415, 333-208988 and 333-224990 are currently effective) and Form S-8 (of which File Nos. 333-202569, 333-222255, 333-228825 and 333-249608 are currently effective). Copies of our filings with the SEC may be obtained from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, or downloaded from our website at www.bluerockresidential.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after such material has been filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. Access to these filings is free of charge.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to COVID-19
The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”), or the future outbreak of other highly infectious or contagious diseases, could materially and adversely impact or disrupt our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance.
Since its discovery in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread from China to many other countries, including the United States. The outbreak has been declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the Health and Human Services Secretary has declared a public health emergency in the United States in response to the outbreak. Considerable uncertainty still surrounds the COVID-19 virus and its potential effects, and the extent of and effectiveness of any responses taken on a national and local level. However, measures taken to limit the impact of COVID-19, including social distancing and other restrictions on travel, congregation and business operations have already resulted in significant negative economic impacts. The long-term impact of COVID-19 on the United States and world economies remains uncertain, but is likely to continue to adversely impact the global economy, the duration and scope of which cannot currently be predicted.
Our operating results depend, in large part, on revenues derived from leasing space in our properties to residential tenants and the ability of tenants to generate sufficient income to pay their rents in a timely manner. The market and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and measures implemented to prevent its spread, may adversely affect our returns and profitability and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders or to realize appreciation in the value of our properties. The spread of the COVID-19 virus could result in further increases in unemployment, and tenants that experience deteriorating financial conditions as a result of the pandemic may be unwilling or unable to pay rent in full on a timely basis. In some cases, we may have to restructure tenants’ rent obligations, and may not be able to do so on terms as favorable to us as those currently in place. Numerous state, local, federal and industry-initiated efforts, including eviction moratoriums or similar actions to protect residential tenants from eviction, may also affect our ability to collect rent or enforce remedies for the failure to pay rent. In the event of tenant nonpayment, default or bankruptcy, we may incur costs in protecting our investment and re-leasing our property, and may have limited ability to renew existing leases or sign new leases at projected rents. Our properties may also incur significant costs or losses related to shelter-in-place orders, quarantines, infection or other related factors. The federal government has announced various forms of aid, both to individual Americans and to the market sectors negatively affected by COVID-19. However, there can be no certainty that such aid will be available to our tenants or to us in any amount, or in amounts sufficient to mitigate the material reduction in revenue we may
experience. Until such time as the virus is contained or eradicated and commerce and employment return to more customary levels, we may experience material reductions in our operating revenue.
Additionally, as a result of an extended economic downturn, the real estate market may be unable to attract the same level of capital investment that it attracts at the time of our purchases or there may be a reduction in the number of companies seeking to acquire properties, which may result in the value of our properties not appreciating, or decreasing significantly below the amount for which we acquired them.
In light of the severe economic, market and other disruptions worldwide being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there can be no assurance that conditions in the bank lending, capital and other financial markets will not continue to deteriorate as a result of the pandemic, or that our access to capital and other sources of funding will not become constrained, which could adversely affect the availability and terms of future borrowings, renewals or refinancings. A constriction on lending by financial institutions could reduce the number of properties we can acquire, our cash flow from operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. If we are unable to refinance maturing indebtedness with respect to a particular property and are unable to pay the same, then the lender may foreclose on such property and result in materially adverse impact on our financial results. Financial and real estate market disruptions could also adversely affect the availability of financing from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which could decrease the amount of available liquidity and credit for use in acquiring and further diversifying our portfolio of multifamily assets, and also detrimentally impact the real estate market in general.
The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly including mutating variants of COVID-19, and the extent of these effects on our operational and financial performance will depend on future events and/or developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration, scope and severity of the pandemic, the actions taken to contain or mitigate its impact, and the direct and indirect economic effects of the pandemic and related containment measures, among others. Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic presents material uncertainty and risk with respect to our performance, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance. Moreover, many of the risk factors set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are heightened and further exacerbated as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, if in the future there is an outbreak of another highly infectious or contagious disease, the Company and our properties may be subject to similar risks as posed by COVID-19.
Risks Related to our Business and Properties
We face numerous risks associated with the real estate industry that could adversely affect our results of operations through decreased revenues or increased costs.
As a real estate company, we are subject to various changes in real estate conditions, and any negative trends in such real estate conditions may adversely affect our results of operations through decreased revenues or increased costs. These conditions include:
|●||changes in national, regional and local economic conditions, which may be negatively impacted by concerns about inflation, deflation, government deficits, high unemployment rates, decreased consumer confidence and liquidity concerns, particularly in markets in which we have a high concentration of properties;|
|●||fluctuations and relative increases in interest rates, which could adversely affect our ability to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all;|
|●||the inability of residents and tenants to pay rent;|
|●||the existence and quality of the competition, such as the attractiveness of our properties as compared to our competitors’ properties based on considerations such as convenience of location, rental rates, amenities and safety record;|
|●||increased operating costs, including increased real property taxes, maintenance, insurance and utilities costs;|
|●||weather conditions that may increase or decrease energy costs and other weather-related expenses;|
|●||oversupply of apartments, commercial space or single-family housing or a reduction in demand for real estate in the markets in which our properties are located;|
|●||a favorable interest rate environment that may result in a significant number of potential residents of our apartment communities deciding to purchase homes instead of renting;|
|●||changes in, or increased costs of compliance with, laws and/or governmental regulations, including those governing usage, zoning, the environment and taxes; and|
|●||rent control or stabilization laws, or other laws regulating rental housing, which could prevent us from raising rents to offset increases in operating costs.|
Moreover, other factors may adversely affect our results of operations, including potential liability under environmental and other laws and other unforeseen events, many of which are discussed elsewhere in the following risk factors. Any or all of these factors could materially adversely affect our results of operations through decreased revenues or increased costs.
Our current portfolio consists of interests in fifty-nine apartment communities, comprised of thirty-seven consolidated operating properties and twenty-two properties held through preferred equity, mezzanine loan, and ground lease investments, located primarily in markets in the Southern United States. Any adverse developments in local economic conditions or the demand for apartment units in these markets may negatively impact our results of operations.
Our current portfolio of properties consists primarily of apartment communities and development communities geographically concentrated in the Southern United States, and our portfolio going forward may consist primarily of the same. For the year ended December 31, 2020, properties in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Colorado comprised 31%, 18%, 16%, 10% and 8%, respectively, of our total rental revenue. As such, we are currently susceptible to local economic conditions and the supply of and demand for apartment units in these markets. If there is a downturn in the economy or an oversupply of or decrease in demand for apartment units in these markets, our business could be materially adversely affected to a greater extent than if we owned a real estate portfolio that was more diversified in terms of both geography and industry focus.
We may not be successful in identifying and consummating suitable investment opportunities.
Our investment strategy requires us to identify suitable investment opportunities compatible with our investment criteria. We may not be successful in identifying suitable opportunities that meet our criteria or in consummating investments, including those identified as part of our investment pipeline, on satisfactory terms or at all. Our ability to make investments on favorable terms may be constrained by several factors including, but not limited to, competition from other investors with significant capital, including other publicly-traded REITs and institutional investment funds, which may significantly increase investment costs; and/or the inability to finance an investment on favorable terms or at all. The failure to identify or consummate investments on satisfactory terms, or at all, may impede our growth and negatively affect our cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
Adverse economic conditions may negatively affect our results of operations and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders or to realize appreciation in the value of our properties.
Our operating results may be adversely affected by market and economic challenges, which may negatively affect our returns and profitability and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders or to realize appreciation in the value of our properties. These market and economic challenges include, but are not limited to, the following:
|●||any future downturn in the U.S. economy and high unemployment could result in tenant defaults under leases, vacancies at our apartment communities and concessions or reduced rental rates under new leases due to reduced demand. In addition, such downturns could result in reduced demand for homes, which may reduce home prices and make home purchases more affordable as an alternative to apartment renting, which also may materially adversely reduce the demand at our apartment communities;|
|●||the rate of household formation or population growth in our target markets or a continued or exacerbated economic slow-down experienced by the local economies where our properties are located or by the real estate industry generally may result in changes in supply of or demand for our apartment units; and|
|●||the failure of the real estate market to attract the same level of capital investment in the future that it attracted at the time of our purchases or a reduction in the number of companies seeking to acquire properties may result in the value of our investments not appreciating or decreasing, possibly significantly, below the amount we pay for these investments.|
The length and severity of any economic slow-down or downturn cannot be predicted. Our operations and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and/or our ability to realize appreciation in the value of our properties could be materially and adversely affected to the extent that an economic slow-down or downturn is prolonged or becomes severe.
Our revenues are significantly influenced by demand for apartment properties generally, and a decrease in such demand will likely have a greater adverse effect on our revenues than if we owned a more diversified real estate portfolio.
Our current portfolio is focused predominately on apartment properties, and we expect that our portfolio going forward will focus predominately on the same. As a result, we are subject to risks inherent in investments in a single industry, and a decrease in the demand for apartment properties would likely have a greater adverse effect on our rental revenues than if we owned a more diversified real estate portfolio. Resident demand at apartment properties was adversely affected by the most recent U.S. recession, including the reduction in spending, reduced home prices and high unemployment, together with the price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions in the debt and equity markets, as well as the rate of household formation or population growth in our markets, changes in interest rates or changes in supply of, or demand for, similar or competing apartment properties in an area. If economic recovery slows or stalls, these conditions could persist and we could experience downward pressure on occupancy and market rents at our apartment properties, which could cause a decrease in our rental revenue. Any such decrease could impair our ability to satisfy our substantial debt service obligations or make distributions to our stockholders.
The properties in our investment pipeline are subject to contingencies that could delay or prevent acquisition or investment in those properties.
At any given time, we are generally in discussions regarding a number of properties for acquisition or investment, which we refer to as our investment pipeline. However, we may not have completed our diligence process on these properties or development projects or have definitive investment or purchase and sale agreements, as applicable, and several other conditions may be required to be met in order for us to complete these acquisitions or developments, including approval by our investment committee or Board. If we are planning to use proceeds of an offering of our securities to fund these acquisitions or investments and are unable to complete the acquisition of the interests or investment in any of these properties or experience significant delays in executing any such acquisition or investment, we will have issued securities in an offering without realizing a corresponding current or future increase in earnings and cash flow from acquiring those interests or developing those properties, and may incur expenses in connection with our attempts in consummating such acquisition or investment, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, to the extent the uses of proceeds from an offering are designated for the acquisition of or investment in these properties, we will have no specific designated use for the net proceeds from the offering allocated to the purchase or development and investors will be unable to evaluate in advance the manner in which we will invest, or the economic merits of the pr