Views of 2009: Jeffrey Barclay and Ed Casal

Interviewed at the PERE Breakfast Club: ULI 2009, Jeffrey Barclay, managing director of ING Clarion and Ed Casal, CIO of Aviva Investors’ real estate multi-manager group, judge the risks and opportunities facing commercial real estate investors.

When PERE travelled to the annual fall Urban Land Institute conference in early November, news headlines were dominated with concerns over job growth – and where it would come from.

With national unemployment having just breached the psychologically important 10 percent mark – its highest rate since 1983 – it was a valid question for all real estate investors to ask. And it was certainly on the minds of the 16 senior professionals PERE gathered together for a special breakfast on the fringes of the San Francisco forum.

Over the course of the next 10 days, PERE will present excerpt of those professionals’ perspectives of 2009, and their thoughts for 2010. The following are edited highlights from an article that appeared in the Dec/Jan issue of PERE magazine. Click here to view, subscribers only.

Jeffrey Barclay, Managing Director,
Head of Acquisitions and Development, ING Clarion

The issue facing many real estate investors is the sheer amount of capital sitting on the sidelines. “Many investment firms have dry powder, so I believe that the opportunity will be here and then gone. Everyone is waiting, so when someone drops the shoe, we may reach a pricing equilibrium more quickly than most observers expect,” Barclay said.

Ed Casal, Chief Investment Officer,
Real Estate Multi-Manager Group, Aviva Investors

“It boils down to rents, occupancy and concessions,” Casal said of the economic outlook for real estate, adding part of the reason for the current “gridlock” in the US property transactions markets was the level of distrust in the system. “No-one trusts the banks, no-one trusts the tenants because they wonder if they are credit worthy, no-one trusts the landlords because they wonder if tenant improvements will be done, the leasing agents are worried about getting paid. It’s all about who can perform.”