Pacaso and its ambitions in the Coachella Valley

The pool and shaded seating are seen in a Pacaso home, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Palm Springs, Calif.

A one-year-old, $1.5 billion company is quietly establishing a new way to commercialize the Coachella Valley’s residential real estate market. 

Pacaso, a real estate investment and management company founded by former Zillow executives, is buying high-end Coachella Valley homes and selling shares in them to investors. The company says the fractional ownership approach makes second-home ownership achievable for a wider range of people, democratizing access to real estate investment and wealth-building.

The Coachella Valley is an important market for Pacaso, which has bought properties in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta, according to its local agent. It’s looking to expand further, possibly in those cities or other desert locations as the opportunities arise.

Experts say Pacaso’s approach is not entirely new, although some analogous offerings have faced trouble in the past. They point to two hurdles the business must overcome in order to survive long term: potential regulatory pushback and possible future difficulties for Pacaso buyers in selling their investments.