DLA Piper’s The Global Real Estate Summit in Chicago kicked off with a panel of top executives discussing their views on the industry in today’s volatile and volatile economic climate.
AEW CIO Mike Byrne set the tone on Tuesday when he referenced an industry watcher who a few months ago “offered to give a speech about fear and greed” but recently said that he could only give a speech about “fear”. The cost of capital remaining structurally higher than what the industry has experienced recently will impact every major decision, Byrne said.
Christopher Merrill, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Harrison Streetsaid amid the uncertainty his business has focused on student housing, education and healthcare.
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“We had four quarters of positive absorption in senior housing,” he added. “We are very optimistic about the senior space. And a big area for us has been life sciences. . . What’s good for us is that if you invest in these niche strategies, you’re not in the big cities but really in the college and medical towns. This complements traditional real estate programs.
Carly Tripp, Chief Investment Officer for Nuveen Real Estatesaid his company invests in affordable housing in New York, argued that hub cities cannot be ignored.
“The activity there has been incredible, and it’s indicative of the flight to quality in gateway cities,” Tripp said, citing Midtown’s One Vanderbilt office tower as an example.
The topic of remote work and its impact on the future of the office market sparked a lot of discussion among the panelists. The pandemic has taught the industry that a sophisticated workforce values flexibility and independence, said Debra Cafaro, president and CEO of Sales. “Some say two days a week is the right amount of time in the office,” she added. “We need to learn and listen to our workforce.
But Merrill wasn’t buying the case for working remotely, saying collaborating on Zoom isn’t the same as in an office environment and younger employees who want to work from home won’t know what’s going on. they miss.
“We want people to work together,” he said. “The times we are going to see ahead will be more difficult. And to overcome them, we will have to work together.