Quotable – November 2007

Pithy quotes from people in and outside of the real estate industry


“Let me be clear – despite strong economic fundamentals, the housing decline is still unfolding and I view it as the most significant current risk to our economy.” “In most of Asia, there is a lack of social safety nets. Asians save more for this reason, and real estate is a primary vehicle for these savings.”
US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, speaking last month at Georgetown University’s law school. Robert Zulkoski, founder of Singapore-based Pangaea Capital Management, in a recent interview with sister publication PEI Asia (see p. 24).
“The first thing that happens is that sellers suffer disbelief. That is the environment we are in. Expect it to remain like this for the rest of the year.” “It’s fun. There’s been five-star in New York, but there’s never been five-star fun, five-star cool.”
Roger Barris, managing director, EMEA region for Merrill Lynch International, speaking at the recent Munich EXPO REAL event, commenting on credit crunches. Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, referring to Donald Trump’s 46-story condo-hotel being built in NYC’s chic SoHo district, as quoted in The New York Times.
“Very few projects in China are environmentally sensitive right now.” “Banks, whoever they may be, are going to be lending less money at higher cost; the IRRs are going to come down. That has to lead to at least a reassessment by asset allocators when the returns have to come down. All of that adds up to hiatus until we get into the new year.”
Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group, confirming that “green building” has yet to catch on in China, speaking at the Pension Real Estate Association conference in LA. Chris Jolly, managing director, corporate finance, Jones Lang LaSalle, at EXPO REAL.
“If you have to rely on the law, it’s too late. If you pick the partner wrong, you’re dead.” “The Chinese economy is like a Maserati with no clutch. It’s going full speed and you can slam on the break, but if you do you’ll stall the engine.”
Ronnie Chan, chairman of Hong Kong-based Hang Lung Properties, on doing deals in countries not known for rule-of-law enforcement, speaking at the Pension Real Estate Association event. Mitchell Dudek, chair of Shanghai operations for Paul Hastings, speaking at a real estate briefing in London last month.