Monday, November 2, 2009

Wilbur Ross Sees ‘Huge’ Commercial Real Estate Crash (AGO)

Mr. Ross is one of the very, very sharpest operators in the market. Distressed debt and related areas are so fraught with ways to lose money that anyone who can even survive is smarter than the average bear. To make the kind of money in the field that Mr. Ross has made is proof positive of a deep understanding of the biz. We titled one of our posts "A Guy Who Might be Smarter then Warren Buffett Talks About the Financial Mess (AGO; BRK.A)".
From Bloomberg:
Billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross Jr., said today the U.S. is in the beginning of a “huge crash in commercial real estate.”

“All of the components of real estate value are going in the wrong direction simultaneously,” said Ross, one of nine money managers participating in a government program to remove toxic assets from bank balance sheets. “Occupancy rates are going down. Rent rates are going down and the capitalization rate -- the return that investors are demanding to buy a property -- are going up.”

U.S. commercial property sales are forecast to fall to the lowest in almost two decades as the industry endures its worst slump since the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s, according to property research firm Real Capital Analytics Inc. The Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices already have fallen almost 41 percent since October 2007, Moody’s Investors Service said Oct. 19.

Billionaire George Soros, speaking today at a lecture organized by the Central European University in Budapest, said a “bloodletting” may be coming for leveraged buyouts and commercial real estate.

“The American consumer will no longer be able to serve as the motor for the world economy,” said Soros, 79.

His comments came in the same week that Capmark Financial Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after originating $60 billion in commercial property loans in 2006 and 2007.

‘Extreme Caution’

Ross, the 71-year-old chairman and chief executive officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC, said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio that he would use “extreme caution” before putting money into commercial real estate, especially office space, because properties are losing tenants....MORE

In a January '08 post, "Billionaire to rescue of crisis-hit US insurer (ABK)" (gosh was it less than two years ago that the biggest problem on the radar was MBIA and Ambac?), We said:

If you are running a mismanaged monoline insurer you DO NOT want this man pulling into the parking lot. His presence means the jig's up and you're buffing that résumé. He is a VERY serious dude....

Wilbur Ross
Bond play: Ross is 'keen to take advantage of a coming wave of consolidation'