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  • Writer's pictureRich Arzaga

What you can learn from the "mixed bag" news about Blackstone Real Estate (BREIT), the world's largest real estate investment trust (REIT)

Real estate, like all other asset classes, operates in cycles. This is a well-known fact. The value of real estate has always fluctuated, and understanding these cycles is crucial for investors. The WSJ article on Blackstone Real Estate (BREIT) provides valuable insights into these cycles. Here are the key points to note:

·  The most significant point is that commercial real estate is stabilizing. It's important to remember that the article focuses solely on commercial real estate, not smaller residential properties. This stabilization is a positive sign for potential and existing investors.

·  Since late 2022, the outflow of investor capital at Blackstone has been more significant than the inflow of new investor capital. Redemptions happen when investors want to withdraw money from an investment. Because of this net negative investment flow, the fund has had to sell some properties to accommodate some redemptions. The fund can and has also capped redemptions to stem extraordinary forced sales of properties to fund these redemptions. Today, it looks like they have survived this cycle of redemptions.

·  Blackstone believes that real estate values have bottomed and that the fund is near the bottom of this cycle.

· Still, financial advisors say their clients are "wary" of commercial real estate. It's almost as if investors and advisors have some unique insight into real estate, which they do not. They are simply reactive to investor behavior when an investment cycles down. When investors and advisors decide to pull money in a down cycle, they forget that real estate is a long-term, 15 to 20-year hold. Plus, they lock in their loss. One advisor says there is no good news, which is another overstatement. He would likely not say that if stocks or bonds slumped. He would likely preach, "Don't overreact and keep your positions." The advisors, like many, forget that real estate is simply another asset class that deserves patience.

·  I like this statement from Blackstone: 

"Now is the time to be playing offense," said Nadeem Meghji, global co-head of Blackstone Real Estate. "You can't wait for the all-clear signal." 

He is right – deciding when to invest is not science. By the time people feel comfortable, they have probably lost much of the upside.

Articles like this do not help investment behavior. The headline reads more negative than neutral, but the article feels neutral about having an upside.

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