Cohen & Steers CEO: Real estate rebound could catch buyers by surprise

Those looking to profit from distressed sales may be off the mark, according to Martin Cohen

Sep 15, 2009 @ 11:09 am

By Dan Jamieson

When the real estate cycle turns, the rebound could be more rapid than many think, according to Martin Cohen, the co-chief executive of Cohen & Steers Inc.

Construction of new buildings has stopped, and when the economy turns, “things [could] turn very quickly” in the real estate market, Mr. Cohen said yesterday in an interview at the Schwab Impact conference in San Diego.

Many have predicted a wave of fire sales in the commercial property market as banks unload foreclosed properties.

But Mr. Cohen has his doubts.

“It’s not going to be,” he said of the predicted distressed sales.

Unlike past real estate cycles, banks aren’t in such a hurry to get rid of foreclosures, Mr. Cohen said.

“They don’t want to give up the profits to the vultures, so they’re more willing to work out” bad loans, he said.

With limited opportunities and a quick rebound, investors looking to cash in on distressed sales may miss out, Mr. Cohen said.

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