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Finding Upside in Real Estate’s Downturn

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-27T18:19:45Z

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Shopping for Bargains

After careers doing real estate deals on Wall Street, Matthew Sharp and J. David Kelsey started Hamilton Point Investments in 2010. Within eight months they'd bought 12,000 apartments in 12 complexes. For $31.3 million, they bought a North Carolina property appraised at $50 million four years before, and for $4 million an Arkansas complex built six years earlier for $9.5 million. These bargains come from Sharpe and Kelsey's familiarity with the byzantine world of commercial mortgage-backed securities. The so-called CMBS market "went crazy in 2006 and 2007," making far too many loans, Sharpe says. Now "we're buying really at the bottom of the market [from] financially distressed sellers, people who need to sell."

Photograph by Jin Lee/Bloomberg