According to the National Association of Realtors, across the U.S., "women brokers dominate the residential real estate market, but have yet to make a major entrance into the more lucrative commercial market.” While more women are also taking ownership of properties, research shows that only 30% of real estate investors are women.
The lack of female investors, specifically in the commercial and multifamily real estate market, was something that CREW Washington DC members Jill Homan and Jenna Howard identified as an unmet need.
“Through several conversations with peers and colleagues, we found that many women were not being invited to invest in commercial real estate deal syndications," The team said. "Interestingly, many of the women work actively in commercial real estate yet were still not invited to participate in ownership.”
Most developers tend to reach out to the same group of friends or family, most of which are men, in order to raise equity for investment. Many women that Homan and Howard spoke to said they would be interested in personally investing, however felt they weren't educated enough or presented with many opportunities to do so.
The two women began brainstorming ways to connect accredited female investors to commercial real estate investment opportunities so more women could directly invest in, own and reap the financial benefits of commercial real estate ownership. They started with a list of women they knew, mostly fellow CREW members, that would be interested in pursuing opportunities and becoming more educated in investing. From there, Homan and Howard co-founded the Women’s Real Estate Investment Consortium (WREIC) in 2017.
The goal of the WREIC is to bring together women investors to share real estate opportunities with one another, evaluate the acquisitions and share business connections. Through the organization, they are able to leverage the expertise of members and learn from one another in order to effectively and wisely invest in real estate. Members personally invest alongside other investors in the acquisition of commercial and multifamily properties through the connections made in the organization.
In four short years, the WREIC has grown from 20 members to now over 200 female investors and more than 20 deals have been presented to the organization. The WREIC also expanded to New York City and Miami, Florida, with members spread across the U.S. as well. The organization has organically grown from CREW relationships. Approximately 30% of WREIC members are CREW Network members.
Homan and Howard each have over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry. Homan currently serves as President of Javelin 19 Investments, a real estate investment, development and advisory firm. Howard is Senior Vice President of Lockton Companies in Washington, D.C., the world's largest independent insurance brokerage. The pair first met through the CREW Washington DC chapter, which they have both been active members of for over 15 years. Howard served as chapter president in 2020.
Homan and Howard's leadership and commitment to consistently bringing direct commercial real estate investment opportunities to qualified women investors is exceptional. Their dedication to the WREIC will transform the commercial real estate industry and continue to empower more women to become investors and eventually even out the playing field among their male counterparts.
CREW Members involved in this article:
Javelin 19 Investments
Kara Klunk is the Marketing Manager for C. Herman Construction, a Charlotte/Charleston based General Contractor specializing in multi-family construction. She is a member of the CREW Network Communications and Editorial Committee.
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