Jason Keller, Oaktree Capital’s Managing Director in charge of residential investments, shares his thoughts on high-yield investing in 2020. Host Dean Wehrli asked some of the best questions I have ever heard him ask. Jason has the advantage of working with a company with very deep pockets who invests all over the world and in all real estate classes, where he can see trends in other industries that will impact residential investment.
For 13 years, Jason has been finding opportunities in good times and in bad. After Oaktree sold out of everything residential in 2005, Jason joined in 2007 and has invested in land entitlement, land development, land loans, equity in private home builders, equity in public home builders, non-performing loans, mortgage servicers, mortgage REITs, fix-n-flip lending, real estate bonds, and distressed land loans, just to name a few things. When the stock market reacted in March, Jason and Oaktree deployed more than $500 million, investing in home builder stocks and the dislocation in mortgage origination, aggregation, and acquisition.
Jason described Oaktree’s style as “learning from the past to adapt to our future.” They focus on data, never just “go with their gut,” and work hard to divorce themselves from the emotions of what is going on around them. He enjoys the healthy tension between needing to put out capital and the ease of “just saying no.”
Jason is a huge fan of demographics, including Big Shifts Ahead?, and is watching carefully for what he believes could be a shift out of big cities. He is not so sure now that retirees will move into the city, replacing the millennials (1980s Sharers and 1990s Connectors) who were starting to move out.
Going forward, he advises:
Be mindful about unemployment levels.
Pay close to attention to urban migration patterns.
Monitor manufacturing employment.
Always focus on the demographics.
Thank you to Jason for sharing his wisdom and for letting us work with him all of these years.
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