SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Unison, the leader in home co-investments, has raised an additional $210 million to help consumers access the record equity they've accumulated in their homes.
Home prices have been increasing rapidly over the past year, creating a record $7 trillion of new "tappable" equity as of 2020 year end, and Americans homebound during the pandemic are eager for expansion and improvement, from renovated kitchens and bathrooms to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Tapping that equity, however, has gotten harder, as banks have tightened lending standards, and traditional channels tie a homeowner to additional debt and monthly payments, with interest. "Home prices have surged, and we enable people to smartly and prudently harvest a slice of the gain without adding more debt to pay for retirement, diversify investments, pay bills or pay off debt, or make home improvements. With many homeowners now owning too much home as a percentage of their net worth, using Unison for liquidity without having to sell the house in order to diversify and pay off debt is a really smart move," said Unison CEO Thomas Sponholtz.
Home co-investments offer many benefits that debt cannot offer and can be superior to traditional cash-out refinances or home equity loans. Homeowners are offered a cash payment of up to 17.5 percent of their home's current market value - up to $500,000. Because a Unison home co-investment is not debt, there are no monthly payments or interest attached. When the house is sold or 30 years pass, the owner pays Unison an amount equal to the initial co-investment, plus/minus a percentage of the home's change in value since the transaction was initiated—in partnership with the homeowner. Homeowners are free to use the cash received for anything, but purchases of long-term value tend to be popular (e.g., retirement planning, debt payoff, medical expenses, home remodeling, or investing in diverse stocks and bonds).
Unison is backed by institutional investors who benefit from gaining exposure to the asset class of owner-occupied residential real estate (OOR), which is the world's largest, with a value of over $160TN1. In addition to its huge size, OOR offers substantial diversification benefits due to its low correlation with equity and fixed income indices.2 OOR is also a powerful long-term hedge against inflation, as housing is the largest component of CPI (42% of representative household basket of goods).
Unison Investment Management has invested in almost 8,000 homes across 30 states and the District of Columbia, with over $1 billion in assets under management3.
"This is a win-win for institutional investors and homeowners alike as we're creating new investment opportunities and helping homeowners tap their growing home equity to meet important financial needs without accumulating more debt," said Thomas Sponholtz, Unison's founder and CEO. "Access to a multiple of home price appreciation is one of the few investments that institutional investors can make at scale to seek to increase expected returns while lowering overall risk of their portfolios. Given the funding demands created by the current rate environment and longevity, it is a critical addition."
The company has also bolstered its Investment Management team with the recent addition of Matthew O'Hara, Head of Portfolio Management & Research, and Joe Celentano, Global Head of Markets. Previously Head of Investments for Blackrock's multi-asset target date portfolios, O'Hara is now responsible for all investments at Unison across the investment lifecycle, working closely with both the origination and capital raising teams. Celentano is responsible for raising investment capital from institutional investors for Unison's funds and structured products. He previously served as a Western Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Securities and was also a Managing Director and Senior Managing Director at JP Morgan and Bear Stearns.
About Unison Unison is a San Francisco-based company that is pioneering a smarter, better way to own your home. Until now, the only way to finance a home was by taking on debt. Through home co-investments, we help homeowners access their equity flexibly with no monthly payments or interest. We enhance home affordability, reduce debt, and deliver a less risky way for homeowners, investors, and society to think about their most important asset - the home. For additional information, visit www.unison.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
About Unison Investment Management Unison Investment Management is the market leader and pioneer in home co-investing. Over the last 14 years we have invested in almost 8,000 homes at the equity level across metropolitan and suburban areas that have strong housing demand and limited housing supply. Unison provides institutional investors efficient, diversified access to the world's largest asset class - owner-occupied residential real estate - while providing low correlation to traditional asset classes and a high correlation to inflation.
Unison Investment Management serves as the asset management arm of Unison. For more information, visit unisonim.com
3 The amount of Unison's assets under management (or AUM) is calculated on the basis of the latest available valuations of all portfolio investments for which Unison provides continuous and regular supervisory or management services.