Jul 20, 2023

Real Estate Tokenization: An Overview and Future Outlook

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Real estate tokenization leverages blockchain technology to transform physical assets into digital tokens, often called security tokens, symbolizing ownership in a property. This process opens doors to fractional ownership, accessible real estate funds, and financing for real estate projects, as tokens can be transferred and owned digitally.

For example, a $10 million apartment building can be tokenized into 10 million tokens, each representing a $1 share of the property. This allows multiple individuals to own parts of the property by purchasing these tokens, thereby democratizing real estate investment. This innovation could give rise to a new sector of "real estate token hedge funds."

Investors have long faced the challenge of raising capital for real estate deals, often needing to secure substantial investment from high-net-worth individuals or private equity firms. Tokenization, however, offers a potential solution to this liquidity problem, attracting a broader array of investors, and offering more favorable terms, such as affordable financing options and reduced control for investors.

Despite its advantages, navigating the regulatory framework in the U.S. remains a challenge, with many companies opting for Regulation D (Reg D) filings, which exempt them from the costly registration process. However, this limits the sale of interest to accredited investors and complying with different state regulations complicates matters further.

Nick Halaris, a seasoned Real Estate investor, expresses that the efficacy of blockchain in enhancing liquidity remains unproven. For instance, Aspen St. Regis tokenized $20 million of its limited partnership, but saw little trading volume, indicating lack of liquidity. Nevertheless, the dream scenario is to have enough good properties on a compliant trading platform to ensure seamless buying and selling.

Platforms like Homebase and RealT are current examples of real estate tokenization. Homebase allows renters to purchase equity stakes in the property they're renting. Similarly, RealT offers a platform for buying RealTokens, representing ownership in U.S. residential real estate. As of May 18, 2023, RealT has 3119 investors and 357 tokenized properties worth $86,263,137, yielding an average annual return of 10.52 % for RealToken holders.

Real estate tokenization, while promising, still has regulatory hurdles to overcome. Yet, its potential to democratize real estate investment, enhance liquidity, and bring about a new era of "real estate token hedge funds" is an exciting future outlook. Coinchange research team has written a 40+ pages long form research report title “Institutional DeFi in 2023, Regenerative Finance (ReFi): fostering adoption through blockchain innovation” where we discuss the Real World Tokenization of assets that create a real positive impact on the society. This Real Estate section of the report has been co-authored by Nick Halaris, RealT, Homebase teams. You can download the full report here.

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