Equity International invests in Mexican homebuilder

Sam Zell’s private equity real estate firm noted huge demand for local housing development, a young population, strong economy and credit availability as part Mexico’s appeal.

Equity International, a Chicago-based private equity real estate firm, is betting on the Mexican middle class housing market.

The firm, led by property industry doyen Sam Zell, said Monday it has invested $25 million in Vinte Viviendas Integrales via a convertible loan. Vinte, founded in 2001, develops low and mid-level housing in the central region of Mexico.

In a statement, Equity International noted huge demand for local development as its investment rationale. Mexico needs about 9.5 million units with added demand every year due to a young population, strong economy and credit availability. Vinte benefits from low exposure to government subsidies and a conservative balance sheet, shielding it from much of the recent turbulence in the local housing market, the firm added.

Other Vinte shareholders include the World Bank and Inter-American Development, according to the company statement.

“Equity International identified Vinte as a highly institutional platform, one that has benefited from a strong shareholder base and pragmatic approach to growth,” commented Brian Finerty, Equity International’s chief investment officer. “We look forward to supporting Vinte in its continued development and growth as an organization.”

Finerty will join Vinte’s board of directors.

Equity International has previously been active in the Mexican property market. Back in April, the firm invested $125 million in Grupo Acosta Verde, a family-owned developer, owner and manager of shopping centers in Mexico.