MHN Interview: Taking on Texas

By Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor

Dallas—Cortland Partners, an Atlanta-based multifamily acquisition and development firm, announced that it is opening a Dallas office. MHN talks to Nick Wilhelmson, director of investments in Texas, about why Cortland is pursuing the Texas market.

MHN: Why is Cortland opening an office in Dallas?

Wilhelmson: Cortland made a decision to pursue expansion in the Texas markets in 2012. After four acquisitions last year, opening a Texas office became a high priority in 2013. Our firm now has 10 properties between Dallas and Houston with another set to close in a few weeks. Simply put, in order to execute our strategy of building a significant portfolio in Texas, we needed “boots on the ground” and the local market knowledge necessary to succeed.

MHN: How is the Dallas market right now? What about Texas in general?

Wilhelmson: The multifamily markets in both Dallas specifically and Texas generally are very healthy and attractive to us right now. The economy in the state is one of the strongest in the country. The job markets and population growth make multifamily investments in Texas very attractive, particularly in Dallas and Houston, but we continue to pursue opportunities in Austin and San Antonio as well.

MHN: Do you think the Dallas market reflects the rest of the country?

Wilhelmson: Broadly speaking, the multifamily market remains healthy nationwide, but the apartment sector in Dallas and the other major Texas metros is especially strong. The energy sector is spurring brisk job growth throughout the state, and the low cost of living and overall business-friendly environment continue to make the state a desirable destination for both companies and their employees.

At the end of the day, all of this makes for extremely solid fundamentals in the multifamily space and creates a demand that continues to outpace what multifamily developers can deliver.

MHN: What are some challenges you are currently seeing?

Wilhelmson: The biggest challenge in Texas is always the concern about overbuilding and where we are in the market cycle. Right now, however, the apartment market is in good shape, and we think it will remain this way for the foreseeable future.

That said, as a company, we’re focused on buying good real estate and executing sound business plans. As long as we continue to do that, overall market cycles are less of a concern for us because we’re not trying to time the market. We like the Texas market as a long-term investment, which is why we’re opening shop here and plan to grow our portfolio significantly over the next few years.

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