Or, as David Schechtman, a senior director and investment sales broker at Eastern Consolidated, put it, “A lot of individuals will learn from history. But most are doomed to repeat it.”
The pressures to repeat it are not in short supply. A lot of real estate funds are flush with money right now—the so-called “money on the sidelines”—and assets on which to spend said money are scarce. “The pressure to do deals and do dealmaking has not gone away,” said Ashwin Deshmukh, of hedge fund AD Capital Partners. “[Investors] have not learned that things go bad all the time historically, that prices do go down, that your cost basis really matters.”
Nor is the federal government likely to use the financial reform legislation to really rein in the rating agencies or regulate the securitization markets, according to Sam Chandan, global chief economist at Real Capital Analytics.
Of course, for every timid bear in the market, there is an unabashed bull. And in light of recent dealmaking, the divide between them is growing fast.
“For the two years preceding the last few weeks, I think everybody was on the same page in terms of saying that fundamentals were degrading, that vacancies were rising, that value was falling, that distress was in the marketplace,” said Bob Knakal, chairman of brokerage Massey Knakal. “About a month to a month and a half ago, you started to see two very distinct groups of people forming in the marketplace based on their perception of where we were headed. It broke down into the optimists and the pessimists.”
Which is he?
“I think it’s too soon to say.”