RealSource Group completes over $100 million in single-tenant express wash sales in 2022 – 1/25/2023

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — RealSource Group, a national commercial real estate brokerage company focused on retail, healthcare, automotive and education properties, announced the firm completed a record year in 2022 with over $100 million in single-tenant net-lease express carwash property sales.

The sales represented a mix of sale-leasebacks, build-to-suits/pre-sales and ground leases with four different express wash brands, according to a press release.

The properties were located across eight states in the Midwest, South and southeastern United States.

According to RealSource’s senior vice president of investment sales, Austin Blodgett, “2022 was a record year for the net-lease carwash sector.

The sale of net-lease express carwash properties reached over $1.4 billion in sales volume, an 8.5% increase from 2021.”

Blodgett points to some of the main drivers for the increase in sales volume across the U.S.

“Private individual buyers have become increasingly familiar and comfortable with this asset type for long-term investment and were eager to take advantage of the 100% bonus depreciation benefits in 2022, before the depreciation amount was reduced to 80% in 2023,” Blodgett explained. “Other factors that fueled sales volume was the rising interest rates, which pushed 1031 exchange buyers to explore other ‘higher yield’ asset types to keep positive leverage. Other similarly priced investment opportunities in the $4 to $6 million range with better credit were often priced too aggressively compared to where the market was headed.”

With record private equity investment in the net-lease carwash sector over the past few years, more carwash operators rolled out new sites.

“The growth in the number of new units created more merger and acquisition opportunities and greenfield development across the country, which ultimately led to more sales,” noted Blodgett.

In the last three months, the level of single-tenant net-lease inventory of express carwashes for sale has increased, creating more competition for properties currently on the market and providing buyers with the opportunity to be more selective.

“Real estate investment trusts (the largest buyer of carwash properties) have not been able to get as aggressive on pricing given their cost of capital. Therefore, sale-leaseback deals that were previously happening off-market with the REITs going direct are now coming to the open market to take advantage of the private 1031 exchange buyer pool. This is a chance for buyers look at deals that would not typically be available to a private buyer, which is a unique opportunity for investors today.” Blodgett continues, “Buyers are looking at the number of successful units the chain operates and the location and market where the unit or units are as they consider their purchase options.”  

Looking ahead to 2023, Blodgett expects demand to stay high for express wash properties and that the bonus depreciation benefits will continue to be a significant driver for buyers of these properties.

“Even though the bonus depreciation amount in 2023 has dropped to 80%, it is still a very big tax advantage that no other product types have (except gas station/convenience stores),” Blodgett said. “Although we may not see the number of records that were set in 2022, we think that volume will stay comparable to 2022 as sellers’ expectations align with the market and rising interest rates to make deals with motivated buyers.”   

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