HZ News

Stay up to date on news about HZ and our markets.

HZ News Press

January 19, 2023

Hamilton Zanze: A Year in Review and the Opportunities Ahead



Hamilton Zanze entered its 21st year in business in 2022 and what a year it was – with new leadership roles and team expansion, the launch of a discretionary fund, robust acquisition activity, strong portfolio performance, and the first steps toward a new investment strategy. Here’s a recap of some of our biggest milestones in 2022 and a look at what lies ahead in 2023.

HZ Leadership

In early-2022, we announced a series of important leadership moves, positioning us for our next stage of growth and planning for succession and retention of key employees. After leading the firm’s investment efforts for more than a decade, President Kurt Houtkooper assumed the title of CEO from Founding Partner Mark Hamilton, who remains highly engaged in HZ’s senior ranks. We also welcomed six new shareholding partners from within our leadership ranks and promoted David Nelson to Chief Investment Officer. Our people have always been HZ’s biggest strength and we see continued growth with this team at the helm.

Strategically Active in a Cautious Market

From a deal standpoint, HZ had another busy and successful year in 2022. We purchased 10 apartment properties (in five states) for $800 million, sold 11 others for $825 million, and refinanced four properties generating approximately $75 million in proceeds for our partners and ongoing property operations. On the capital side, we raised $441 million in equity for HZ-sponsored transactions. This would rank us in the top 10 (#7) in DST/TIC market equity, according to data reported by Mountain Dell Consulting for November 2022.

While many investment firms spent 2022 on the sidelines, concerned about their floating-rate debt and asset viability, HZ remained active in its pursuit of new properties. Our leadership team continued to take a thoughtful, conservative and selective approach with transaction activity. We recapitalized two properties, moving from institutional partners to private capital. We purchased assets with loan assumptions, taking advantage of cap rate expansion while also reaping the benefit of low interest rates. We continued to focus on growing markets with strong job expansion, such as Nashville and Colorado Springs.

Portfolio Performance

Our portfolio remains healthy and financially resilient, despite a volatile market. While we have seen historic rent growth in the last 18 months, that growth is now moderating. We believe there is still significant loss to lease that can be harvested on our rent rolls, which will allow for Net Operating Income (NOI) growth within the portfolio, albeit at a more moderate, pre-pandemic rate. Our same-store revenues grew 8% in 2022, with NOIs growing the same amount. In 2023, we are budgeting 5% revenue growth, 8% operating expense growth and approximately 3.5% NOI growth. 

One industry metric to determine the health of the portfolio is Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). Our portfolio DSCR is 2.58x. A DSCR greater than 1.0x means a borrower can service the debt. When we originate a loan, we are typically 1.25x DSCR. So a DSCR of 2.58x means we have seen significant net operating income growth in our portfolio and we are in a very healthy position compared to our debt (on a portfolio basis).  

New Discretionary Fund

Another important milestone in 2022 was the expansion of HZ’s investment offerings to include our first discretionary general partner fund (HZ GP Fund I), allowing our acquisition team to invest in unique deal opportunities with more agility. In a competitive acquisition environment, this fund further differentiates HZ by providing surety of capital, which is highly valued by both sellers and brokers in the disposition process, and also helps position us for better deal terms and pricing. 

The $52 million fund has invested into three transactions and is currently 33% deployed. We anticipate four to eight additional acquisitions in 2023 depending on market conditions. The uniqueness of this structure gives fund investors the opportunity to augment their returns through shared fees paid by joint venture partners, including acquisition, asset management and promoted interest. To date, we have worked on joint ventures with high-quality institutional partners such as Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Investcorp and DCA Partners.

While the HZ GP Fund I offering is closed for new investment, we will likely be back in the market raising HZ GP Fund II in 2024. 

Transition to a Diversified, Perpetual Investment Model

The next evolution of Hamilton Zanze will move us further into the fund world. We will be growing a Perpetual Investment Fund that will continue to purchase and manage real estate investments throughout the country. This fund will afford investors better access to a diversified real estate portfolio, more consistent distributions, improved liquidity, and simpler transferability of ownership shares. We are poised to officially launch HZ’s new Perpetual Fund in 2023. 

Nonetheless, we will also continue our single-asset syndication business. We will continue to acquire assets on a one-off basis through joint ventures, separate accounts, and Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs). These DSTs give us the ability to continue to accommodate 1031 exchange investors into individual assets with an additional option to convert their investment into the Perpetual Fund.

Expanding Team

To support these initiatives, we have invested in people who embrace HZ’s culture and vision, including: Peter Casey, Managing Director of Capital Markets, providing expertise in institutional capital and discretionary funds; Ian O’Connor, Director of Acquisitions, focusing on the strategic deployment of fund capital; Bob Shuttle, Senior Vice President of Construction and Development, working to increase density and development opportunities within HZ’s existing portfolio of assets; and David Cervantes, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, to oversee our brand development, investor experience, and go-to-market strategies.

Environmental, Social and Governance

Over the last year, HZ made significant strides in our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) program, which we will roll out in 2023. 

To help drive our environmental efforts, we are working with Measurabl, the world’s most widely adopted ESG management software for commercial real estate. The platform allows us to measure and benchmark property-level energy efficiency data as we continue investing in sustainability for properties fitting our value-add strategy. Energy- and water-efficiency improvements can reduce operating expenses, positively impacting NOI, helping lower resident utility costs, and reducing vacancy loss and turnover expenses. 

In 2022, we convened an intra-company ESG Council with our sister companies and engaged The Cee Suite, a diversity, equity and inclusion and talent management consultancy, which completed an assessment of our company and identified strengths and areas of opportunity toward achieving our vision of building inclusive, people-centered practices. 

Looking Ahead

Our diversified portfolio and conservative approach to the capital stack have helped us weather market volatility and regional risk factors. Moreover, most of the single-asset loans in our portfolio have fixed-rate 10-year financing. Thus, those loans are not subject to interest rate volatility. Also, we have proactively replaced debt that is maturing and have limited exposure to near term-loan maturities.

We anticipate continued strain in the real estate investment world in 2023, likely impacting some apartment owners, particularly within the Class A and Class C asset profiles in certain regions. Whether properties are considered “distressed” or not, we are well positioned to take advantage of this, with ample capital ready to deploy as attractive investment opportunities arise via our extensive industry relationships. We are actively pursuing value-add deals, including 1990s- and early-2000s era assets where we can utilize our property management and construction management arms to build value through expense reduction, green initiatives and interior improvements to grow NOI.

We look forward to an exciting year ahead for our team, our investment partners and the industry at large.


Hamilton Zanze (HZ) is a private, San Francisco-based real estate investment company that owns and operates apartment communities. Since its founding in 2001, Hamilton Zanze has acquired over $5.9 billion in multifamily assets primarily in the Western, Southwestern, and Eastern U.S. The company currently owns and operates 132 properties (22,035 units) across 17 states and 30 markets. For additional information, visit www.hamiltonzanze.com.

January 9, 2023

Peter Casey Joins Hamilton Zanze as Managing Director to Lead Capital Markets Initiatives

JANUARY 10, 2023 – SAN FRANCISCO) – Peter Casey has joined Hamilton Zanze Real Estate Investments (HZ), a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm focused on multifamily properties, as Managing Director – Capital Markets.

With two decades of industry experience, Casey will play a key leadership role as HZ expands its investment offerings to include discretionary funds alongside its individual property-based deals. HZ’s first discretionary fund of $50 million is currently being deployed, allowing the firm’s accomplished acquisition team to invest in deals with more agility.

Casey’s relationship with HZ’s leadership team, including Founding Principal Tony Zanze and CEO Kurt Houtkooper, goes back nearly a decade.

“As Hamilton Zanze has evolved, and with my specific expertise with institutional capital, the time was right for us to work together,” said Casey. “There were many things that attracted me to HZ, but it started with high quality people, a respected platform and well-defined culture.  From there, the Partners’ vision of the business gave me confidence to jump aboard.”

Casey’s role is multi-pronged. He will work with joint venture partners to deploy HZ’s first discretionary General Partner fund, utilize his expertise to raise additional institutional capital for future funds, and assist with asset-level debt procurement, with the goal of building enterprise value.

“Peter’s experience and background will be a tremendous asset to HZ as we move forward with this next stage of growth,” said Houtkooper. “Having known him for so many years, we knew he was the right person to help lead the charge with institutional investors as our platform continues to evolve and expand.”

Casey’s background includes over 20 years of institutional real estate experience. Prior to joining HZ, he was Managing Director – Capital Markets and Fund Partner with Sack Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm. Prior to that, he was a Director at Interstate Equities Corp., where he was responsible for raising $500 million across two commingled fund vehicles. Earlier, he worked in the asset management and investment banking divisions of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University and an M.B A. with a real estate concentration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute.


Hamilton Zanze (HZ) is a private, San Francisco-based real estate investment company that owns and operates apartment communities. Since its founding in 2001, Hamilton Zanze has acquired over $5.9 billion in multifamily assets primarily in the Western, Southwestern, and Eastern U.S. The company currently owns and operates 132 properties (22,035 units) across 17 states and 30 markets. For additional information, visit www.hamiltonzanze.com.

August 11, 2022

Increased Cost of Capital Forces a Reset of Multifamily Valuations

Buyers are beginning to ask for discounts and some deals fall through. But experts say the disturbance in the sector is based on “short-term uncertainty.”

Jenn Elliot | Aug 11, 2022

In early June, two days before the Federal Open Market Committee increased the Federal Funds Rate by 75 basis points, Odyssey Properties Group struck a deal to buy a multifamily asset in Dallas at a 3.5 percent cap rate. The Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm was hoping to add the garden-style property to its existing portfolio, which consists of 44 properties comprising 7,217 multifamily units across 14 states with a total estimated value of more than $1.5 billion.

As Odyssey progressed toward a purchase and sale agreement (PSA), it struggled to obtain a float loan, so it put the purchase on hold, according to Derek Graham, president and principal at Odyssey. By late July, the firm had nailed down an agency loan and resumed discussions with the seller, who’d bought the property for $18 million in 2019.

For Odyssey to achieve the same returns it had projected just six weeks earlier, the firm needed the seller to reduce the price by $3 million, or roughly 10.5 percent off the original price of $28.5 million.

“Even with that decrease, the seller would have achieved an amazing return, given what he paid for it,” Graham notes.

The seller was willing to shave $1 million off the purchase price—a decrease of roughly 3.6 percent. To no one’s surprise, the deal ultimately fell apart.

“The seller’s question to us was: ‘Why should I sell for less?’,” Graham recalls. “I understand his position because I’m an owner too. The reality is that rents are increasing anywhere from 12 to 20 percent, and he’ll be able to increase his net operating income, probably by 15 percent or more. And if he decides to sell a year from now, he will have recouped the $3 million reduction that I needed to close the deal today.”

Shaking off the lost deal, Odyssey shifted its focus and locked down a multifamily property in Phoenix at a 4.4 percent cap rate. Unlike the Dallas owner, this one was “willing to meet the market,” according to Graham.

Odyssey’s experience certainly isn’t unique. In fact, it has become quite common in today’s uncertain investment sales climate. There has been a bit of a standoff between buyers trying to achieve a certain yield and sellers insisting on their original price, Graham notes. The sellers haven’t adjusted their expectations to an environment with higher interest rates.

“Just 90 days ago, their asset was worth a 3.5 cap rate, and they’re resistant to making needed adjustments. For us buyers, debt is now more expensive, so we need a 10 to 15 percent discount for a deal to generate the same kind of return potential.”

Diminished investor confidence

After the Fed’s initial rate hike in March, many multifamily sellers were willing to work with buyers and re-trade assets at 3 to 5 percent less than original agreements. The embedded gains that investors have achieved in recent years certainly helped by providing more flexibility to give some back to buyers so deals can get done, notes Brian McAuliffe, president of capital markets, who leads multifamily investment sales business at commercial real estate services firm CBRE.

However, with each successive rate hike, the buy-sell gap has widened. Experts estimate that valuations have decreased from 8.0 percent to 15.0 percent, with core assets in growing markets landing near the low end of the range and value-add opportunities hitting double-digits.

Because data detailing recently closed deals is not yet available, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much valuations have reset. Furthermore, investment activity has slowed significantly over the second quarter, making it even more difficult for investors to confidently value properties.

“Right now, it seems like market participants—buyers, sellers, and lenders—are all looking for data for confidence,” says Martha Peyton, global head of real assets research at Aegon Asset Management.

No motivation or desperation to sell

Many owners are paralyzed by indecision, unsure whether they really want to sell off their multifamily assets, according to Kurt Houtkooper, CEO of Hamilton Zanze (HZ), a San Francisco-based real estate investment company that owns and operates 132 properties totaling 22,821 units across 17 states and 30 markets.

“Owners know valuations have changed, so they don’t feel very motivated to sell, and fundamentals are so strong, there aren’t a lot of desperate sellers either,” Houtkooper notes.

Since its founding in 2001, HZ has acquired more than $5.9 billion in multifamily assets. The firm’s strategy is to buy an asset that it thinks is broken, fix it and sell it once it’s stable. Then, the firm will do a 1031 exchange, investing the proceeds into another property.

“We’re a value-add shop, and we’re going to buy and sell through the cycles,” Houtkooper says, adding that earlier this year, the firm decided to dispose of several properties and has no desire to deviate from that plan. “We’re still selling the properties that we planned to sell, and we’re still making a profit, just not as much as we would have if we’d sold in January 2022.”

Beyond valuations, owners might be hesitant to sell because there are fewer properties on the market. Odyssey’s Graham likens the current environment to a game of musical chairs, where if an investor sells a property, it might be a challenge to find a replacement asset.

Shallow pool of quality buyers

Many buyers who have been active over the past few years are now on the sidelines, closely watching the action in the “field.” Houtkooper estimates that the buyer pool has decreased in terms of size and quality. He notes that four months ago, the firm was getting 30 offers and today it’s getting about 10, and those 10 offers may not be as high quality as they were previously.

He also adds that buyers have returned to the traditional due diligence period after three years of offering non-refundable money from day one.

That’s a bummer when you’re a seller, but a boon when you’re a buyer. “We like it when there’s less competition,” Houtkooper says. “Our thought is that we might sell at a discount, but we’ll also be buying at discount.”

HZ’s strategy to combat higher interest rates and increased cost of capital is to seek out properties with existing assumable debt. Currently, the firm is in the middle of acquisition process for two apartment communities in Tennessee totaling roughly $150 million. It will assume agency loans for both properties and expects to achieve a positive arbitrage on cap rates, according to Houtkooper.

“By assuming a loan, we know the loan constant, and we’re taking out market volatility,” he says.

Aegon’s Peyton says well-capitalized and respected buyers have increased leverage in this market. “As a function of changes and uncertainty in the capital markets, buyer credibility has certainly become of increased focus during seller due diligence,” she notes. “Operators with less reliable capital sources are being scrutinized much more heavily.”

Of course, all-cash buyers continue to hold the power position over buyers who use debt to acquire assets, even those like HZ, which boasts a balance sheet that is strong enough to assume loans.

How much will valuations continue to shift?

Industry players predict that investors will have a much better handle on the market by the fourth quarter, which should help stabilize valuations.

“If multifamily properties continue to perform well and rents continue to increase, I would be very surprised if there was another large shift in values,” says John Sebree, senior vice president and national director of Marcus & Millichap’s multi housing division. “They might slide up and down a little, but I think the big shift has already taken place.”

Sebree expects that once valuations stabilize, investment activity will pick up as well. He notes that here is little concern in the industry about multifamily investment levels and property fundamentals in the sector in the next five to seven years. The current market hesitancy is about short-term uncertainty, he notes.

Graham says his firm will continue to pursue multifamily acquisition opportunities even if interest rates continue to increase (as the Fed has indicated). “Our industry got intoxicated on cheap debt in 2020 and 2021, but interest rates are pretty much exactly where they were in 2019,” he notes. “With realistic buyers and sellers, cap rates will also return to 2019 levels, and I think we were all pretty happy with the returns we were getting back then.”

August 1, 2022

‎Podcast: Street Smart Success: Quality Multifamily is Still Commanding

HZ’s Founding Principal and Co-Chair, Mark Hamilton, joined Street Smart Success with Roger Becker to discuss the state of the multifamily investment market, pricing, the different asset classes, the expected returns on your investments, and much more.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

May 9, 2022

‎Podcast: Elevate with Tyler Chesser: Growing a Multifamily Portfolio from a Duplex to 25,000 Units, 1031 Exchange Best Practices, and Tips for Evaluating Risk

HZ’s Founding Principal and Co-Chair, Mark Hamilton, joined Elevate with Tyler Chesser to discuss timeless real estate wisdom, covering Mark’s inspiring story of growing his real estate portfolio, how to navigate a 1031 exchange, how to evaluate opportunities and risk, and much more.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

March 23, 2022

‎Podcast: Dwellyn Show – Financial Freedom Through Real Estate Investing

HZ’s Founding Principal, Mark Hamilton, joined the Dwellyn Show to discuss his background, how Hamilton Zanze has grown, and his experience in the Bay Area.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

February 23, 2022

‎Podcast: Ritter on Real Estate with Mark Hamilton

HZ’s Principal & CEO, Mark Hamilton, joined the Ritter on Real Estate podcast to discuss his background, how Hamilton Zanze came to be, and the ins and outs of the multifamily real estate investment industry from the eyes of someone with 20+ years of experience.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

November 22, 2021

‎Podcast: Discussing Market Trends 2022 and Future of 1031 Exchanges

HZ’s Founder & CEO, Mark Hamilton, joined the Creating Wealth Through Passive Apartment Investing podcast to discuss the 2022 multifamily market and the future of the 1031 exchange. Mark discusses the secret sauce for wise investments, tips and tricks for finding the hot markets, practices to build up a strong and robust team, and the upside and downside of third-party managers.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

July 7, 2021

‎Podcast: When it Comes to Underwriting, You Have to be Your Own Worst Enemy

HZ’s Founder & CEO, Mark Hamilton, joined the Street Smart Success podcast to discuss the underwriting process. Mark discusses how frequently a number of items get left out in a broker or seller’s profits and losses statement.

Check out the full episode below or on Spotify.

April 19, 2021

‎Podcast: Discovering Multifamily – The Case For 1031 Exchanges With Mark Hamilton

HZ’s Founder & CEO, Mark Hamilton, joined the Discovering Multifamily podcast to discuss the 1031 Exchange and the case for preservation. Mark discusses the implications and value of the 1031 exchange on the U.S. economy.

Check out the full episode below or on Apple Podcasts.