Over the past few years, one of my favorite guests on CNBC has been Richard Lefrak.  He has his hands in nearly every part of the real estate market, across the commercial to residential spectrum.  A very wide ranging 10 minutes interview this morning where he touches on themes we have proposed as well. 

  • The easy money policies of the Fed, along with the changes in accounting rules to let banks lie about what is on their balance sheet (circa early spring 2009) (ala pretend and extend) have allowed the system to heal.  Indeed, in some markets (i.e. NYC) he fears we are back to bubble valuations.  (I believe this is where Bernanke takes a bow and mutters mission accomplished)
  • Single family residential stinks for the most part, 2M excess homes in the market, still sees 10-15% correction in pricing
  • Multi family home (i.e. apartments) are booming as many more Americans turn into renters, by choice or not.  Rents jumping sharply.
  • The attitude towards home buying has changed.  (Mark's note - I think this is a huge trend for the coming 5 years) [Apr 5, 2011: Apartment Vacancies Drop to 3 Year Low, as Rents Rise - Apartment REIT's benefit]
  • Markets with true job growth (many centered around natural resources) are doing much better than the average market.
  • Believes lowering barriers to immigration would help the housing market immensely - he cites it happening in Miami condo market.

All in all, The Bernank is creating a massive wealth effect for guys like Lefrak and he is very thankful.  (literally says so in the interview).  

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