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Starwood Property Trust (STWD 0.10%)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Nov 09, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Greetings. Welcome to Starwood Property Trust third quarter 2021 earnings call. [Operator instructions] Please note that this conference is being recorded. At this time, I will now turn the conference over to Zach Tanenbaum, head of investor relations.

Zach, you may now begin.

Zach Tanenbaum -- Director of Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Good morning, and welcome to Starwood Property Trust earnings call. This morning, the company released its financial results for the quarter ended September 30th, 2021, filed its Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission and posted its earnings supplement to its website. These documents are available in the investor relations section of the company's website at www.starwoodpropertytrust.com.

Before the call begins, I would like to remind everybody that certain statements made in the course of this call are not based on historical information and may constitute forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. I refer you to the company's filings made with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the risks and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made today. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements that may be made during the course of this call.

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Additionally, certain non-GAAP financial measures will be discussed on this conference call. Our presentation of this information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable measures prepared in accordance with GAAP can be accessed through our filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov. Joining me on the call today are Barry Sternlicht, the company's chairman and chief executive officer; Jeff DiModica, the company's president; Rina Paniry, the company's chief financial officer; and Andrew Sossen, the company's chief operating officer.

With that, I am now going to turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff DiModica -- President

Thanks, Zach. We had a very strong quarter, and we have a record pipeline of opportunities across CRE lending, residential lending, and energy infrastructure. We expect to continue to issue CLOs and securitizations in each of those businesses in the coming months, moving significantly more of our liabilities to match term nonrecourse, non mark-to-market facilities. We have the most unencumbered noncash assets, the largest owned property book, providing reliable and long-term cash flow to shareholders, the most unrealized gains, and the most diverse set of complementary business lines in our sector, which allowed us to invest accretively in the first year after COVID.

We believe that consistency has been a driver of our success, and we are positioned well to do the same in the future. In our CRE lending business, we have already closed over $1 billion of loans in Q4 and expect to close on multiple of that by year-end to what will likely be our biggest quarter to date. We are also borrowing at lower spreads, which is more than offset post-COVID asset spread tightening. Our global loan acquisitions team has done a terrific job producing optimal levered returns on our CRE loans for the last four quarters of 12.6% and our pipeline is also above 12%.

That compares to 11.2% for the four quarters before COVID. We were busy in capital markets this quarter as well and Rina will speak in detail about our high yield and term loan b issuances and our upsized revolver. Led by the covenant change in our term loan structure, which allows us to now borrow an incremental $1 billion against the same collateral package we, today, for the first time, have the unique ability to borrow a record $2 billion of new highly accretive incremental corporate debt. We intend to continue to run this highly diversified company with low leverage, but should the need arise, we have more accretive firepower than we have ever had.

In REITs, our team has significantly increased our named special servicing while reducing our CMBS portfolio over the last four years. Rina will tell you, we added 17 new servicing assignments with a $14.9 billion balance in the quarter, that is more named special servicing than we have ever added in a quarter and increases our named special servicing portfolio by 33% over those four years to over $90 billion today, giving us incremental revenue potential. Now I want to talk about our affordable housing portfolio. Barry has said before on this call that our purchase of 15,057 affordable units in Florida, which we call Woodstar I and II was one of the best purchases in the 30-year history of Starwood Capital, not just our Property Trust.

We paid $1.25 billion in total for the two portfolios or $83,000 per door. With the completion of another $163 million cash-out refinancing post quarter end, we now have a negative basis in this portfolio, meaning we have no equity left in the transaction in making our future returns infinite. After quarter end, we established a new fund to hold this portfolio. Last week, we signed a binding subscription agreement and other related agreements with major global third-party institutional investors to sell an aggregate 20.6% interest in the fund for a total subscription price of $216 million.

We marketed the fund earlier this year and waited to close the fund until two things happened. First, we realized the 100% reduction in real estate taxes on these assets that was signed into law this summer by the state of Florida, boosting our net income. Second, we received sign off from the Florida Housing Authority in October, which allowed us to execute another cash-out refinancing as well as sell stake in the fund. Rina will tell you more about the refinancing and the accounting treatment of the fund.

We sold an interest in the fund as a way to broaden our third-party capital management footprint and because as evidenced by the growth we have seen in these assets since our acquisition, we believe there is still considerable growth in the cash flow and capital appreciation to be realized from these assets. We continue to believe the Orlando and Tampa markets will see above-trend income growth in the coming years and that institutional demand for these assets will keep cap rates in check, allowing us to continue to benefit from our majority ownership, management fees, and an incentive fee on the third-party investments. As we have told you in the past, the actual NOI growth and cap rate compression has led to a gain of well over $1 billion incremental to the high teens annual return we have realized and distributed to date. We have always had asset-light fee-earning businesses with high ROEs, our special servicer, our CMBS originations business, and in our CMBS B-piece investing business, where we receive management fees, an outsized portion of potential special servicing fees in later years or both.

This new investment fund will allow STWD to earn cash management fees annually of third-party capital and an incentive fee, which we expect to be valuable. After taking this gain, the remaining gains in our property book across all owned assets still represent nearly $4 per share of distributable earnings, giving us confidence in our unique ability to earn and pay our significant dividend. We may choose to sell more of this fund in future years. And given the fund's eight-year life, we will determine the ideal exit strategy for those assets by the end of 2029.

As for the valuation in our sale, cap rates on Florida multifamily have tightened significantly to the low to mid-3% range. Rents which cannot go down in the affordable segment, but go up along with median MSA income have risen over 20% since acquisition and driven a nearly 40% increase in after-tax NOI since our purchases. Given the minority investors in this portfolio do not have control that the portfolio is not optimally levered to today's interest rate environment and that we are receiving management and incentive fees on their investments. We settled earlier this year on a valuation cap rate of 3.75% or value just over $2.3 billion or $153,000 per door.

The accounting for the fund resulted in an increase to our undepreciated book value to approximately $21 per share. If we add in the nearly $1 per share of gains available to us at our marks on the remainder of our owned real estate, our fair value per share of our enterprise is nearly $22 today. At a $26 stock price, we were at 1.18 times price to fair value book which is below that of peers who don't benefit from our diversification, our unrealized gains, the scale of our unencumbered assets, or our third-party fee streams. I want to spend a few minutes today on the valuation of STWD.

We believe with almost $4 per share left in the cash from harvesting our unrealized gains that our ability to pay our dividend through cycles has never been greater, and we have created a security cushion for our bond-like dividend. STWD trades at a 7.4% dividend yield today or almost 600 basis points above the 10-year U.S. treasury. Our company has significantly outperformed since our inception in 2009, earning a 13% annual total return for shareholders.

Our core businesses continue to improve, and we are earning our dividend in our core businesses despite a significantly lower LIBOR today. Beyond continued outperformance in our core businesses, there are ways we could increase earnings and thus, the dividend. We could increase leverage or we can realize embedded gains and redeploy that capital, creating excess earnings. We sleep well knowing how well our lower leverage predominantly off-balance-sheet, match-funded financing model performed in COVID and have no it plans to alter the strategy.

If we were to realize part or all of the $1.1 billion of unrealized gains remaining after the minority fund interest sale I just spoke about, each $100 million we chose to sell if reinvested at the 12% ROE we have historically earned would add $12 million to earnings and $0.04 per year to our dividend. If we sold $1 billion of our gains and reinvested the capital at 12%, we would add $120 million to earnings and $0.40 per year to our dividend. Adding $0.40 to our $1.92 dividend would be a dividend of $2.32 per year, which implies our dividend yield is actually almost 9% at a $26 stock price at our marks, which over 80% of have now been justified by third-party global investors. To do that math the other way, if we paid a $2.32 dividend and the market still believed that our diversified model was at least as good as our peers today and held us at a 7.4% dividend yield, our stock would be over $31 per share today.

By monetizing $1 billion worth of our embedded gains in redeploying the equity at a 7.4% dividend yield, our stock would be over $5 per share or 22% higher than it is today. The option to sell our property book at a large gain is available to us, yet we have opted to continue to stay diversified, keep the above-market return and long-duration nature of these assets and save these games to create the most stable earnings power in our sector. I will finish with the things we can control. We have access to more accretive capital than we ever have.

We are trending toward record origination levels. The credits in our portfolio continue to perform very well. We are executing on the significant opportunity set in front of us, and we believe our company has never had more distinct ways to outperform regardless of market cycle. We are very excited about the prospects for our company and the potential value in our stock price.

With that, I will turn the call to Rina.

Rina Paniry -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Jeff, and good morning, everyone. This quarter, we reported distributable earnings or DE of $155 million or $0.52 per share. We were again active on both the left and right-hand sides of our balance sheet, deploying $3.8 billion of capital across our diversified platform and completing $580 million of corporate debt issuances, which I will touch on later. I will start this morning with commercial and residential lending, which contributed DE of 142 million to the quarter.

In commercial lending, we originated $1.7 billion across 14 loans nearly half of which were multifamily and industrial. We funded 1.4 billion of these new loans and 172 million of pre-existing loan commitments. We continue to see increasing lending opportunities across Europe and Australia with international loans representing 21% of our third quarter originations and 26% of our commercial loan book. After $872 million of repayments, our commercial lending portfolio ended the quarter at a record 12.1 billion.

On the right-hand side of the balance sheet, we completed a single-asset, single-borrower securitization for a previously originated $230 million loan on a portfolio of 41 extended stay hotels. This transaction allowed us to increase the advance rate and return on this loan while moving the existing repo financing to a term-matched nonrecourse, non-mark-to-market structure. We continue to see strong credit performance in our loan portfolio, and post-COVID originations now represent 43% of our quarter end loan balance. Our portfolio has a weighted average LTV of 60% and a weighted average risk rating of 2.7, both in line with last quarter and reflective of no downgrades.

Consistent with this performance, our general CECL reserve remained flat at $48 million. Moving to our residential lending business. We saw record volume this quarter as we completed 1.8 billion of loan acquisitions. Of this amount, $262 million resulted from unwinding one of our 2019 securitization which will allow us to significantly reduce the financing cost of these loans upon resecuritization.

We also completed our 13th securitization for loans with a UPB of 470 million. Our on-balance sheet residential loan portfolio ended the quarter with a weighted average coupon of 4.4%, average LTV of 67% and average FICO of 746. Next, I will discuss our property segment, which contributed $20 million of distributable earnings to the quarter. Weighted average occupancy remained steady at 97%, and blended cash-on-cash yields increased to 18.9% this quarter.

Subsequent to quarter end, we upsized the debt of Woodstar one, our first affordable housing portfolio in Florida, by $163 million at a lower cost of funds. In doing so, we replaced $217 million of debt at LIBOR plus 2.71% with $380 million of debt at LIBOR plus 2.11. The refinancing returned 100% of our equity basis in this investment and provided an incremental $140 million. As Jeff mentioned, we established the Woodstar Fund subsequent to quarter end.

So you will see the accounting impacts I'm about to describe in our year-end 10-K filing. The new fund will be accounted for under ASC 946 financial services investment companies. With this investment reported on its balance sheet at fair value and changes in value recognized through GAAP earnings each quarter. As managing member of the fund, we will consolidate the accounts of the fund into our consolidated financial statements, thereby retaining the fair value basis of accounting for this investment.

We expect the related distributable earnings gain, which will be recorded in the fourth quarter to be approximately $200 million. This amount reflects the difference between the subscription price of 216 million and 20.6% of our cost basis. We do not expect the special tax distribution to result from either the third-party investments in the fund or the refinancing. Based on our current estimates of taxable income for 2021, including the taxable income resulting from Woodstar, we will meet nearly 100% of our distribution requirement via our carryover dividend from the fourth quarter of last year and a full four quarters of dividend this year.

Said differently, our carryforward dividend, which represents the Q4 dividend that was declared last year and paid in January of this year, plus four quarters of consistent declared dividends in 2021 would provide us with 100% dividend coverage. Next, I will turn to our investing and servicing segment, which reported DE of $34 million. In our conduit, Starwood Mortgage Capital, we completed our first single-asset, single-borrower securitization for a $113 million loan. We also priced one conduit securitization transaction totaling 239 million of loans, which settled after quarter end.

Consistent with past practice, this transaction is treated as realized for DE purposes. In special servicing, Jeff mentioned the significant expansion in our name servicing portfolio this quarter, which increased by $12.3 billion to 91.4 billion due to the assignment of 17 CMBS trust with a UPB of 14.9 billion. In our active portfolio, we resolved 1.5 billion of loans this quarter, bringing this portfolio to a balance of 7.3 billion. Concluding my business segment discussion today is infrastructure lending, which contributed DE of 11 million to the quarter.

We acquired 90 million of new loans and funded 16 million under preexisting loan commitments. Repayments were 113 million, which kept the portfolio at 1.8 billion. On the right-hand side of the balance sheet, we successfully replaced the acquisition facility that we entered into in 2018 when we initially acquired this portfolio. The loans that were still on this line were transferred to one of our existing repo lines which was temporarily upsized from 500 million to 650 million to accommodate the transfer.

I will conclude this morning with a few comments about our liquidity and capitalization. During the quarter, we issued a $400 million unsecured sustainability bond with a five-year term and a fixed coupon of 3 5/8 with no OID. We are able to issue these green bonds given our unique platform, which has investments across the sustainability spectrum, including loans on green buildings, and commercial lending, loans to homebuyers within residential lending affordable housing within our Property Segment, and renewable energy within our Infrastructure segment. The proceeds from the bond issuance were used to retire 400 million of our December 700 million, 5% unsecured notes when they opened for prepayment at par in September.

We also upsized our term loan by $150 million to $790 million and our corporate revolver by $30 million to $150 million. In connection with these upsizes, we amended our asset coverage covenant from five times to two and a half times, allowing for approximately $1 billion of incremental borrowing capacity. In addition to financing capacity available to us via the securitization markets, we continue to have ample credit capacity across our businesses, ending the quarter with 8.1 billion of availability under our existing financing lines, unencumbered assets of 2.5 billion and an adjusted debt to undepreciated equity ratio of two and a half times. With that, I'll turn the call over to Barry.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Here we go. Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Zach. Thank you, Rina.

Thank you, Jeff. Jeff went before Rina, this time which is diversity for us at the moment because he was really excited about talking about the Woodstar restructuring. So let's back up and talk about the markets for a second. The most important thing in real estate right now is we're playing catch up to the rest of the world's asset classes.

And what's shocking is yield is still incredibly valuable. So properties now that the worst is behind us, clearly around the world, property values, not only stabilizing, but they're moving higher rapidly. The one area probably the strongest market at the moment in all of real estate, besides single-family homes for rent is multifamily. And since we own nearly 100,000 units as an equity player, and control those units, we can tell you how strong those markets are with daily rollovers of leases.

And it's an unprecedented strength. I've been doing real estate for 35 years, and I have never seen rent increases not only that are high double digits, but across the entire country. And that goes to kind of the valuation of the Woodstar trade investment. We created this investment fund earlier in the year to prove to the market that the substantial unrealized gains that we had in our book are real.

And so we found two very large offshore investors after a broad marketing effort to come invest in that portfolio. They bought 20% of the equity. And I will tell you that we severely undervalued those assets between the time of the investment they made and what we're seeing in the marketplace today is an active equity investor probably cap rates have fallen more than 50 basis points. And we just sold a large portfolio in our equity funds in the twos.

So affordable housing, you could argue, is actually better than market-rate housing in the sense that given the incomes are rising rapidly at the lower end of the income stream, 38% increases in total income for those age groups on that demographic, sorry, the rents in multifamily are set by the mean income in the areas that you are. So whether you own assets in Orlando and wages are rising rapidly, just an anecdote. I was talking to an operator in South Florida hotel, they've taken their ADR, their average labor cost from $14 to $22. So as those numbers filter through the economy and the income numbers of these towns, and I'm sure it's true everywhere as the service workers have been the last to come back to work, and those are probably typically our tenants.

We're going to see pretty rapid growth in income in the affordable housing. So we love the portfolio we would have sold -- we wouldn't -- that's why we didn't sell more. On the other hand, we want to mark make sure that everybody realized that among all of the mortgage REITs, we're the only one with a $3 billion-plus property book. The cost on those multis was 1.1 billion.

This trade was 2.3 billion valuations. So -- and I'm confident that we're still marking that portfolio significantly below its fair value. And that's true across the board or the other multis that weren't included in the fund. So we think it's unique to Starwood.

It gives us long duration. One of the reasons the cap rate was a little higher was there was some debt on the portfolio. By the way, that was -- will obviously go away. That was more expensive than it would be if we were able to refinance today.

And we didn't maximize leverage the two clients weren't that interested in levering it through the moon and beyond. So but that provides a baseline of dependable cash flow in which we believe support our dividend and also as we continue -- if we continue to harvest the gains in that portfolio, we can redeploy that trapped equity at higher returns. And I think the other fascinating thing about the quarter is the 12.6% ROE that our investment loan book put out, that's as high as we've had in probably years. And it's pretty surprising given everyone's come back to lend.

And people are competitive because there are a lot of projects that aren't penciling out right now, particularly on the construction side. So an LTV of 60, 11 years after we started in business, I would have definitely not believe that for a 12.3% ROE. I would have been shocked. And what's so interesting is that replacement costs, obviously, inflation has hit the country and inflation in construction prices is giant.

You're seeing 2% increases in cost monthly it's both labor and materials. And some of the materials have softened, but I don't think that's going to last because of the transportation bill will impact steel, concrete, piping, and all the materials that go into constructing anything, and then add that the fact that country seems to have lost 1 million construction workers and there's gas labor shortages in construction and now you're going to try to fix bridges, roads, and tunnels all over the country. Good luck finding people would do it. Funny thing is we'll probably have to import all these workers from some offshore country because they don't exist in the United States today.

So small wrinkle on how we're going to actually execute the 600, 700 billion of physical infrastructure that's planned to be -- it will continue to put pressure on pricing, which means existing LTVs will fall. Like if you have a 63 LTV, it's going to go to 55 just because the cost to replace the competitive building is going to rise. And it will mean that there'll be less construction or rents have to rise in order to justify new construction, which will also provide a lower LTV on the existing book. So the fact that we have a business that produces seven, whatever, three dividend yields in a world with no yield at 60% LTV and a whole slew of high ROE businesses attached to that, which no other mortgage company has.

And now we're trading at 1.2 times book, and that highlights what we've probably been saying for five to seven years that we have a GAAP book of now $20, $21 fair value book with undepreciated. And then $22, if you take -- if you mark-to-market, I think conservative estimate of the fair value of the firm, probably closer to 23, I'm guessing. So you have a very cheap company. You're getting all these businesses basically for free because we put -- we trade right on top of our nearest competitor, but we have all these high ROE businesses alongside the lending book, which is having a record year.

So business is I mean, really good. Our global footprint is helping us. The Europeans are coming through with increasing volumes, and we have a backlog that's significant. So in a world where the 10 year is back at 145, I just can't understand how we sit at 600 basis points higher spread with a 60% LTV.

Again, it's 60 LTV, if you actually gobbled all our loans together and put them in a trust, you'd probably be rated investment grade through most of the portfolio. And that would be just a you would get like, I don't know, maybe 2.5% for that coupon on the debt, if we aggregated this stuff. So it's -- it continues to amaze me. And we thought one of the impediments to a higher stock price was our premium to book that perhaps some people just are running screens and not really paying attention to our calls and the detail of what and say, "Hey, I'm not paying 1.4 times book, and we've been arguing for 5 years, you're not paying 1.4, 1.5 times book because the book isn't real.

Obviously, we have the only investment -- the only mortgage company that has this massive depreciation coming through while assets are obviously appreciating in the case of Woodstar, $1 billion, we just thought we should highlight it with actual facts. And you can see we're freeing up a couple of hundred million dollars. We can invest in high returns was accretive move for the firm long term. So that was, I think, the highlights of the quarter.

We continue to outwork on the balance sheet. Rina and the team, Andrew, have done an amazing job working with Jeff on term financing our debt. We have the least exposure to repos and bank lines. I think any of our peers that I'm aware of, I assume our major peers.

And so it's not only a stable dividend, but it's fairly safe because it really can't be impacted. And that's why when the stock fell, I said we can pay the dividend. We can always harvest the gains in the equity book and pay the dividend for the foreseeable future, which is something no one else can say in the sector, frankly. So -- now we did think if the world was going to end, should we harvest some cash and go take advantage of amazing opportunities, but it really -- it never was a question we couldn't pay the dividend.

It was a question of whether we wanted to. And that would have depended on the trajectory of the world. If we'd gone into a massive depression, we would have thought about what was the best use of our cash. So regardless, I think the firm has established itself as the premier player in the space.

And hopefully, with Woodstar trade, we've alleviated one impediment to a further increase in our stock price, and we're pretty excited about some new opportunities we are looking at. And hopefully, you'll see us do a couple of really interesting innovative things in the near future. So thank you for everything and thanks. I want to thank the team because the almost 400 people that Starwood Property Trust are working really hard across all our verticals to be best-in-class.

There was a question that I'm pre-empting about infrastructure lending. There just haven't been that many loans to do coming out and now the pace is picking up. So -- some of that stuff just froze in place, and there was not a lot of volume. So we're picking that up.

But all these businesses are producing target or better than target ROEs. And we're pretty pleased about everything. You can see our volumes in the non-QM lending book were very large in the quarter, continues to be large. So the conduit business continues to function perfectly frankly and our CMBS book has been lightened tremendously, but we're also picking up servicing.

So it's really kudos to the team. They've done a great job. So with that, I think we'll take questions.

Questions & Answers:


Thank you. [Operator instructions] Our first question is coming from the line of Tim Hayes with BTIG. Please proceed with your question.

Tim Hayes -- BTIG -- Analyst

Hey. Good morning, guys. First question, just on the Woodstar portfolio sale. You mentioned some of this in your prepared remarks, but I want to maybe just dive a little bit deeper.

Can you give us a little bit of information on the profile of the buyers? And what your appetite is like to sell more in the new fund structure. And if you've had other conversations with other third parties, that seems to be something we could expect to see within the next few quarters or if you're kind of set with the amount of ownership you have in the portfolio now? And then I have a couple of follow-ups. Thanks.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

What we can say about the investors is they're giant offshore sovereign wealth funds that have an appetite to increase their positions in these portfolios in the future, if we decide to do it. So they're not limited by capital trust me. But we're not at liberty to tell you who they are. The -- and I think as to harvesting the future gains just in that book or the medical office portfolio or our way above market, triple net leases to Dick's, I guess, Bass Pro Shops, not Dick's.

It's all depending on what -- how to put money out in the other businesses, right? And if we're -- if we can raise our -- what are we going to do this year in originations do you think, Jeff?

Jeff DiModica -- President

I think that we will be eight and change billion and then you add in CMBS, and we're closer to 11.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

But in the large loan lending book, 8 billion, could we get those volumes to 14 or $15 billion, we would --

Jeff DiModica -- President

We could be 10 billion this year.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We would take more gains to invest at 12 ROEs. The one thing about the book is it gives us the stability. The return on equity isn't really infinite. And I don't have to worry about early repayments.

So -- but as the book gets bigger, and now I think it's the largest balance sheet we've probably ever had, 21 billion, right? We can suffer those repayments without worrying about any disruptions to our EBITDA, so our earnings potential. So the bigger the book, the better the business, it always is the case because then it is just a question of can we find enough attractive deals with enough duration. The business is not easy. The duration of our almost necessarily -- that's a hard word to say, in this early in the morning, necessarily transition loans is like the faster the borrowers fix their properties [Inaudible] really want to pay us back.

It actually the ones that happen to get a higher ROE because you get a prepayment penalty and we get -- whatever fees we took upfront are actually over a smaller time frame. So we might think a loan is a 12, and it's actually 16. And I think if you go back and look at history, that's actually the case that people always kind of pay us off a little faster when things go well.

Jeff DiModica -- President

You're obviously higher than your ICMM was because you have upside to prepayment penalties and your only downside is credit where we haven't really taken any meaningful impairment ever.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So the thing is it's just a lot of work for the team. And I think broadening our ability with additional product lines to put out that capital is when we cross that rubicon, you'll see us probably take more gains off the table and redeploy what today is probably a subpar ROE. I mean, on the -- we'd be better off taking the gain and reinvesting it, which Jeff DiModica wants me to do every two days, so. I'm just I want to make sure that are -- we've been sitting on so much excess cash for so long.

We don't know what to do with ourselves, but that's actually the good news is it's dwindling. And we do have access to the -- given the Woodstar trade, we have -- we'll have unprecedented access to on unencumbered assets to supply the company with additional corporate debt and still maintain lower leverage levels than our peers. So we could boost the ROE here. As Jeff pointed out, we could raise the dividend and we lever the company.

It just doesn't feel like what we told people we were going to do in the beginning of time, which is safe, consistent, and predictable. And that we thought the market would value and the stocks rallied but a 7.3 dividend 12 years into your existence with a 60% LTV and proven capabilities across multiple business lines. It seems like a good deal in the market full of crazy stuff going on.

Jeff DiModica -- President

We trended a little higher for a minute, Barry, but we're trending back toward 2.0 times book on our leverage, which would be at the very low end of anyone in our space. So, Tim, we'll take other questions, if you had a follow-up.

Tim Hayes -- BTIG -- Analyst

Yeah. No. So kind of like two follow-ups around that. You kind of answered one of them.

It's just about where you redeploy that capital. And it sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong if the best risk-adjusted return right now is still in the large loan CRE book. So just curious if that's where you redeploy the 200 million you're getting back or if it's used to pay down the notes you have coming due in about a month or so or if there's anywhere else that you might look to allocate that? And then just part of that question, Jeff, is just the comments around the earnings accretion, right? Because you might -- I look at dividend coverage right here and you're pretty well covered, $0.52 versus 48, and you're getting about $0.08 back from this portfolio sale, right? And then that doesn't even include the management and incentive fees you're getting on that capital as well. So that's going to be pretty noticeable when we see it flow through earnings next year.

So I'm just curious if that is enough to get you to think about maybe a bump in the dividend or if it just provides nice coverage for you and give shareholders more confidence in your ability to pay it?

Jeff DiModica -- President

OK. So on the redeployment, we got the advantage, Tim, of waking up every day when we get $1 into our ecosystem and deciding among seven different things what we want to do. I think running this business at this scale would be tremendously hard and often awkward if you had to wake up every morning and make only real estate loans every morning with every dollar that came back into the system because there are times and you've seen us pivot. We built this book in 2015 and '16 because we didn't like where our lending standards were decided it was better to be a borrower we built this entire book in that pivot.

In the middle of COVID, we pivoted and built a massive position in non-QM residential mortgages because it was something we could trade. So we're going to wake up every day and decide where the best place to put our capital is across the seven. I would say you're right, today, based on what Barry just said, that our fourth quarter will probably be one of our best quarters ever that we're trending in the mid-12% after trending mid-11% ROE levered pre-COVID that the environment is very good for our large lending book, and that's our core business. I think if we had -- if we could grow one business that people understand us for that, and it's easier, and we would continue to grow there.

But I would say the energy infrastructure business looks really attractive in the fourth quarter. Non-QM continues to look attractive. The whole loan coupons are coming down, but the financing is coming down also. And there are some pretty good opportunities in CMBS and other.

The hardest place for us to add today would probably be in the property segment given what's happened to cap rates on core cash flow type of property. So we feel really good about the fact that we can wake up and look at seven different businesses to pull money out. It is a great time today, probably the best we've seen in a long time as people executed their business plans during COVID, but didn't refinance during COVID. We're now seeing the execution of business plan.

So we're seeing a tremendous amount of volume potential coming out of the other side. And with LIBOR a lot lower. There's a lot of people who just want to get out of a high floor. And so that's adding a lot of volume.

So we and our peers will have a big fourth quarter. We and our peers will probably have a big first quarter and the levered yields are pretty good because of where our financing markets are. As far as growth of earnings relating to that cash coming back in and the desire to build the dividend, I think -- that's a longer-term question as we see how we come out of this over the next year or two, but we certainly are in great position earning our core dividend. A lot of people are going to suffer with distributable earnings given the lower LIBOR and the fact that we're earning our dividend in this lower LIBOR environment is pretty good.

And if we can continue to do that coming out on the other side, I think.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

One thing about our business, we are especially large lending side is we are tied to global transaction volumes and the moves in yields, cap rates and the fact that I think people are -- didn't sell during the pandemic because people why would you sell unless you had to sell during the pandemic [Inaudible] on this backlog of deals that are trading now and there's a lot of capital we ourselves we'll have, I think, we'll buy $30 billion of real estate this year I was told. So that is a record for our firm in multiple vehicles. So we have a very good view of what's going on that's producing a lot of lending opportunities. And it's going to continue for a while here as people rejuggle their portfolio.

There may be a slowdown actually in transaction volumes. In the United States, I think some people try to get ahead of the capital gains tax increases, particularly families. And if they could sell, they sold. So you may see a slowdown.

I think you see a lot of corporate M&A in the next 12 months in the REIT sector, more than we've probably seen in years. So I think there'll be opportunities in that sector for us, too, in the mezzs. And oftentimes, in these giant deals, we'll work with another one of our peers. In one case, and we approved just yesterday, we're working with a money center bank and splitting the deal we competed with them.

So we're just doing it straight up with them. It is an interesting time. We have the ability to do very large transactions and small deals. And we're doing both.

And we look at whether we should be bigger in middle market lending and looking at opportunities to be in that space because really small investments going to conduit, large loans go in the -- into the book, the held book. But in the middle, we don't play that much and that's something we could probably expand. Some of our smaller peers have to be in that space because they can't do the giant deals. So we could organize ourselves and maybe start to go after some of that -- those smaller investments.

It's just a churn. It's a lot of work. You make $50 million loans and hold the $10 million piece or $15 million. You got to do a lot of them to make a difference.

But every one of our business lines operates that way. They all -- we want to provide them with capital to earn really good rates of return in a world without yield. So we're pretty pleased. I mean, it's pretty nice that the whole mortgage sector came through as a whole, the financial -- whatever you call that, the pandemic crisis unscathed.

I think mortgage REITs of old might have blown up and these mortgage REITs for the most part, a few of them were on life support. But most of them came through this, a few of them were put out of their misery. Some of the small guys got gobbled up. But obviously, the major players were able to come through, pretty well.

Jeff DiModica -- President

Well. Barry, to your first comment, the transaction volume looks like it's going to be over $550 billion this year and over 200 of it for the first time will be multifamily. So we're seeing a lot more multifamily opportunities. The market is seeing a lot more multifamily opportunities.

And that's helping drive it. Normal markets over the last 15 years, pre-GFC, post-GFC, after four or five years, everything but 2020, since 2016, have seen $500 billion of transactions. So we're trending to the high end of what we've seen and a big part of that being multifamily. What's interesting is a huge part of the lending today is in floating.

And if you go back to the GFC or before, there was a lot more fixed-rate lending. What's happened is private equity, the Blackstones, and Starwoods of the world, funds have gotten much bigger. There's a tremendous amount of that money on the sideline and they will more often take floating rate than long-term fixed rate. So the percentage of that 500-plus billion in transactions is more slanted toward floating, which is a great opportunity for our large loan floating book.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

One other comment I will circle back on the dividend. We are probably in the best position we've been in five, seven years to actually look at increasing the dividend. So that's a board discussion, and we haven't made it. But as you pointed out, we're probably one of the best coverages I think, in the mortgage business.

And obviously, we have billions in embedded gains. So could we do it? Sure. Should we do it? Would it really help us? We don't know. So that's kind of what we're thinking about.

I mean we -- but we are in a position to feel comfortable doing that if we wanted to do it. So we'll probably bring it up. We'll see.


Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Jade Rahmani with KBW. Please proceed with your question.

Jade Rahmani -- Keefe, Bruyette and Woods -- Analyst

Thank you very much. First question is on the prop-tech side. I know Starwood Capital Group has invested in that. Are there any prop-tech attributes at LNR, any proprietary technology there proprietary technology? Or is there too much of a dependence on third-party data feeds that would create a hidden source of value?

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, it's funny you mention that. Actually, there's -- I think a bigger group of technology or IT people -- I know at STWD and there is at STG, the parent. I think it's five times the size. One of the reasons they do that is we have this database called LPEM which is a database of all of the investments that we service and sell and monitor with a service loan book that's what is it, like 70 ,80 billion.

Rina Paniry -- Chief Financial Officer

90 billion, named servicing.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Right. We have to be careful about what data we use and for what purpose. But there is a business for us that we talked about getting organized, which is to manage for small institutions and to be their workout department. I mean basically, we are a workout department, we just do it for CMBS securities.

And much like Guggenheim grew to be the investment shop for small insurance companies, we could be the workout department of small banks. We have that's why we have all these people that most of these people work in those businesses. So it's something we've talked about. And obviously, it's a very high ROE business and probably something we should try to execute in the future.

But at the moment, it's nascent. I'm aware that BlackRock build a technology called BlackRock Solutions for themselves to help them manage their assets and then found it so compelling that they went out and created BlackRock Solutions, which today I think last time, checked made $500 million for BlackRock. So could we have an LNR solutions or what we call ourselves, what is our subsidiary called?

Jeff DiModica -- President


Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

REIT, REIT Solutions that's something I'd love to see us to execute. It's obviously all option value doesn't exist today.

Jade Rahmani -- Keefe, Bruyette and Woods -- Analyst

And just on the M&A side, are you more focused on pursuing such asset-light high ROE businesses? Or on the other hand, do you see a consolidation opportunity within the mortgage REIT sector, you could bifurcate the mortgage REITs. The larger cap names trade fairly well. The mid-to smaller-cap names are sort of unloved. So there could be potentially an opportunity there.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's almost like a cliche to say we look at everything, but we look at everything, right? And where they're trading isn't that relevant. It's really a question of where they would do deals, right? So -- and it's very hard to do a hostile on a REIT. It's -- as you might have seen, we tried to buy an industrial REIT and management just said no. And so it's just very hard to do the funds, the index funds won't vote.

And they're typically the top one, three, four, five shareholders of the REIT. So it's very hard, shockingly difficult, and kind of sucks, but it is the way it is. I even called BlackRock, specifically to say in one situation, not the one I was mentioning, management has done a terrible job. I've outlined all the shareholder disasters that they presided over.

And they just like they don't want to vote -- they want to stay passive. They don't want to get involved in a takeover even if -- it has compelling business and applicable and whatnot impacting. So it's kind of complicated. I wish it was easier than it is because it's like it's kind of -- it's bad.

It's actually the REIT regs that allow that to happen. You can't go over 10% ownership. So -- and in some cases, if you do the draconian protections come into place. And you can basically say no.

Just say no. So we'll see. I mean, we'll see what happens in our sector. I think there were a lot of consolidation talks during the pandemic, but not many of them took place.

So actually happened. Anyway, thanks for the question.


Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Doug Harter with Credit Suisse. Please proceed with your question.

Doug Harter -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Thanks. Can you talk about how the sale of the property assets and impacts your kind of journey to a higher credit rating and continuing to lower the cost of debt?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Difficult to say that there's a tremendous amount -- listen, if I were thinking about our ability to repay debt, I certainly love the fact that we have these large gains. I think the agencies likely look at these gains and say, when I need them, they won't be there. I think there's probably a misunderstanding of that. And we think that these are durable and that they will last in a recession, the interest rates go lower.

We've seen cap rates go lower on the stuff in COVID on the largest portion of it. So I think we think they'll be durable. I think any logical person would think you would be higher rated if you have this massive war chest behind you. I think the agencies think that it's not durable and you don't have much of a war chest just so I don't think it matters that much to them, unfortunately.

So I don't think anything we're doing here is sort of ratings driven.

Doug Harter -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Got it. And then can you just talk about the increased opportunity you saw on the residential loan acquisition this quarter and kind of how you think about the pace of deployment going forward?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Yeah. We collapsed the trust with part of it, and we'll always do that to try to move it into better financing. We own a preferred equity investment, I guess, in an originator that we expect become ours in 2022. And we've been really working hard to grow that and a significant part of that origination comes through that pipeline.

I also think that you're seeing a decent amount of agency investor loans come through the pipeline, and that's something where the agencies pulled back and non-agency originators like us. We're able to step in and probably flip those back to the agencies at some point and that's $500 million-plus of that number. So that helps the number look a lot bigger. But we continue to look at more sectors.

We continue to stay the course. We love this sort of low 60s LTV, mid-high 700 FICO credit profile with the HPA we've seen around the country, there's no credit risk in these bonds. It's all about duration in prepay speeds, right? So as long as we hedge these to a faster prepay speed, then we think it's likely, and we can still earn a double-digit return, we're sort of super happy to lean in. I'll say the gross wax, the coupons are coming down a bit.

That's expected as you move later into a cycle as the originators pivot away from doing just agency loans and then try to find non-agency borrowers that they can offer a lower rate through. So we are seeing gross racks come down and speeds run a little bit higher than we thought, but we've been fairly conservative on where we're on our speed to last bunch of months and we'll continue to do that and hope that coupons stay around here. If they collapse a lot more, we probably won't be a big investor here. But today, it's still really attractive for us.


Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Stephen Laws with Raymond James. Please proceed with your question.

Stephen Laws -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning. Looks like from early last year, international was a little less than 20% of the loan portfolio now above 25% sounds like maybe headed to closer to 30 here. What are the opportunities you're seeing internationally that make that more attractive to deploy capital than the domestic? And as a follow-up to that, it looks like you've got a higher mix of CBD office exposure with the international office assets than maybe what you've taken here in the states.

So is that coincidental? Or is that part of the differences you see internationally versus domestically?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Yeah. Let me start on it --

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I'll go and then you go. I mean the European markets and Australian markets are a little less competitive. And the banks are less competitive for I'd say they're more strict on kind of by the book lending on an LTV, less inclined to do transitional deals totally not inclined to do them. And there's a very wide gap between where banks will lend cheaply and they'll be really cheap, cheaper than U.S.

banks and where we would lend to fill a gap in the capital structure based on our underwriting skills. So I think we could be bigger in Europe than we are. We're asset class agnostic. We really don't care much.

And we try to -- we have tried to avoid hotels just because of the -- not because we're not comfortable lending against the hotels, but I think it just puts little alarm bells into our people don't like that as much. So it's perceived to be less resilient. And you are coming out of the pandemic globally. So hotels a little stabilized.

Obviously, we own over 1,000 of them, so I can tell you what they're doing and where they're doing it since we own them all over the world. We're looking at other asset classes, too, like data centers in any place we can find opportunities to earn our returns. They're all open game. And in some cases, maybe it's an office building that's fully leased and we're making a construction loan.

We've done that before on a fully leased office building with long duration and credit tenant. We'll do that, too. So most of our peers in the space in the U.S. don't do European loans.

So they don't have the infrastructure. I think I can't tell you we have too many people in your doing loans. I always think we have too much overhead, but I think there's probably 20 people now in London, looking at and servicing and --

Jeff DiModica -- President

And it's a huge part of what you invest in on the equity side in Europe. So we know the market.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Our London office is 70 people. So that's the benefit of having the parent that we do. So for the REIT.

Jeff DiModica -- President

I'd throw on top of that, the U.S., you tend to see more brokered deals, the efiles and JLLs and whatever bringing deals. And then on a broker deal, three guys in a Bloomberg, who call themselves a debt fund can write a loan because somebody brought it to them and they were the guy left standing with the highest proceeds or the lowest price in there in business, and you see a lot of that here. I think it's harder to be a buyer, in Europe, there's much less in terms of broker deals. I would say more than 80% of our loans have been direct in Europe, which is a significantly higher percentage.

One of the reasons on the office percent is you do see less institutional multifamily in Europe. You have a buy-to-let market that is well financed in the securitization world, but it's not really an institutional multifamily market historically. We are doing some additional multifamily deals going forward, but that's a new sector. So your percentage office will look higher there if you're doing large loans just because you're sort of missing this whole multifamily segment that has historically has gone to buy to let.

Stephen Laws -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Great. Thanks for the comments this morning.


Our next question is from the line of Rick Shane with J.P. Morgan. Please proceed with your question.

Rick Shane -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Hey, guys, thank for taking my question. You really answered -- just answered my primary question. So one quick thing. You have a couple of large maturities coming up in '22.

I'm curious just your comfort level in terms of how those projects are moving through the path and your comfort in terms of them being able to refinance or pay off?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Yeah. Thanks, Rick. Sorry to answer your question before I have a knack for doing that to you, so I apologize. The couple of big loans are one in an office in D.C.

and a mixed-use in London, those are absolute smokers and they're going to be really easy payoffs. Some of the easiest that we will probably see is my guess in terms of institutional quality stock that's in great shape and it comes out. So there are some bigger ones. And I would tell you that specifically, we're not worried about anything that I can look at right now in the 2022 maturity bucket.

So the credit has continued to perform pretty well. We've been super lucky that COVID turned as quickly as it did, but it was work that we did going in, and we were probably the first one to come out almost a year ago now and tell you guys that we think it will be OK. And our portfolio will hold in. And to date, we feel really good about that.

So as I look at the fully extended payoffs for next year, not really worried about anything.

Rick Shane -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Hey, Jeff, thank you for the specificity on those two loans. Those were the ones I was looking at. And I tried to buzz in as early as I can. But apparently, my peers are even faster than I am.

So --

Jeff DiModica -- President

We're going to put you first next quarter, Rick. I feel like I owe you that.

Rick Shane -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. Thanks, guys.

Jeff DiModica -- President

Take care.


The next question comes from the line of Don Fandetti with Wells Fargo. Please proceed with your question.

Don Fandetti -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Jeff, could you talk a little bit on where yields are for non-QM? I know there's some noise with some agency acquisitions. And where do you think that market can go? Can it get much larger as you look forward?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Yeah, listen, there is a lot of room for it to get bigger. The part of it getting bigger is going to be its movement to a lower average -- average WACC, gross WACC. And our WACCs when we started doing this business, we're in the mid-6s, and today, they're in the low fours, you're getting to 150 basis points off of agency coupons. And so you'll start to feel some turbulence if you try to tighten in from there on that spread.

So my guess is that you hold in somewhere between 100 and 150 basis points wide of agency. And at that spread, you potentially bring in a decent amount of people who are able to refi, but don't fit the traditional bank origination statement, 43% DTI, etc. And so -- so the market can probably continue to grow. One of the things is what's the government going to do with the agencies? And are they going to allow via the patch them to write more non-QM? Or do they want them to be doing more mission-specific stuff, low income, affordable, etc? And depending where they come out on that, that will tell you what's left over for us.

But certainly, at lower coupons, there will be more volume. And one of the things driving the lower coupons, I'm giving you a blended coupon on the agency coupons where we did, I told you over $500 million of investor agency loans. Those were sub-4% coupon, and our non-QM loans are still mid in sometimes mid-to-high 4% coupon. So I'm giving you a blend between when we do both.

But reality is the non-QM coupons are still in mid fours-percent today.

Don Fandetti -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst


Jeff DiModica -- President

And the leverage is fantastic, right? We can get 11 turns of leverage if we want it in the securitization market, at spreads that are almost as tight as where we were at the very tight and it's incredibly accretive, and that's why you're seeing a lot of hedge funds come in and be willing to pay 104, 105 for pools of these loans to securitize them. And we've been able to produce them a lot cheaper owning our own originator. So we're happy with that.


Thank you. Our final question comes from the line of Jade Rahmani with KBW. Please proceed with your question.

Jade Rahmani -- Keefe, Bruyette and Woods -- Analyst

Thank you very much for taking the follow-up. Just on the infrastructure side, is there anything in the infrastructure bill that you believe could be a boon for that business? And secondly, would you look at a digital infrastructure credit fund, which another REIT and asset manager, I believe you're familiar with is also looking at?

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Still on mute. What was the first part of the question?

Jeff DiModica -- President

Infra bill.

Jade Rahmani -- Keefe, Bruyette and Woods -- Analyst

Anything in the infrastructure bill that was just passed that could be a boon to that business?

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

A lot of those projects won't start until middle of next year, some of them in '23, like, for example, the ones that are familiar with the tunnel in New York or the investments in Amtrak. So the government will do what it always does, which is take some time to run a foolish process and take the wrong bid and do something at twice the cost of what it would cost private enterprise. And I look forward to that. But I think in general, yes, there will be opportunities for us to lend money, particularly if they're funded.

It depends what's happening. What's the project and who's leading it and what -- how they're going to do the financing. Obviously, the government will finance things they own, I would imagine. So they won't be looking for third-party capital.

But if they partner with privates and there's opportunities, it would be great for us. And to the extent, there are other opportunities in the power grid and the green areas we're really well-positioned. We have a business that does equity investing in energy infrastructure. And so led by a really talented fellow and he works with the rest of our team, Denise, and Sean, who's sitting in front of me, so we can cover equity to debt.

We have a whole spectrum in-house. So if there's something to do, which there should be, it could really be a boondoggle, hopefully, there will be.

Jeff DiModica -- President

We're trending to a really good place for the fourth quarter in that business. It's always fourth quarter centric, but we feel pretty good about where that is and where the business is heading as we come further and further out of COVID, but I think there's a lot to do there.


Thank you. At this time, we've reached the end of our question-and-answer session. I'll now turn the call over to Mr. Barry Sternlicht for closing remarks.

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nothing to add. Thank you all for your time today and listening to us and asking your terrific questions, and we look forward to the next quarter. Hopefully, more exciting things to talk about. Take care, have a great holiday season.


[Operator signoff]

Duration: 70 minutes

Call participants:

Zach Tanenbaum -- Director of Investor Relations

Jeff DiModica -- President

Rina Paniry -- Chief Financial Officer

Barry Sternlicht -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim Hayes -- BTIG -- Analyst

Jade Rahmani -- Keefe, Bruyette and Woods -- Analyst

Doug Harter -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Stephen Laws -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Rick Shane -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Don Fandetti -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

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