Attractive Real Estate Opportunities Remain in U.S. for Global Investors, Investment Manager Says
06/25/2014 | by Allen Kenney

Sophia Banar, managing director with Forum Securities Limited, joined for a video interview during REITWeek 2014: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.

Banar covers U.S. real estate companies for Forum Securities. Additionally, she advises the firm’s global portfolio management team. Banar joined Forum Securities in April after serving as a portfolio manager with The Tuckerman Group, an affiliate of State Street Global Advisors that focused on real estate investment.

Banar discussed the impact of the hostilities between Russia and the Ukraine on international real estate markets. She downplayed their significance, maintaining that the only real effects have come through increased volatility in the broader stock markets.

“To the extent that real estate stocks rely on the underlying real estate fundamentals, there has been very limited impact, if any, on global real estate markets,” she said. “The hotel rates in California are not really impacted by the unfortunate circumstances of military actions in Ukraine.”

Banar also discussed potential differences in property valuations in the United States and abroad. She acknowledged that pricing may be more attractive overseas, evidenced by the volume of investment capital pursuing deals in Europe and Asia. However, she added a caveat.

“It’s not fair to look at the valuations in the absence of understanding real estate fundamentals or risk parameters surrounding the investment opportunities in certain markets,” she explained. “When you look through that lens at the investment opportunities, what you find is that there are plenty of those in the United States as well.”

Looking at the second half of 2014, Banar said she expects emerging markets to continue gaining investment appeal.

“Granted that the macroeconomic risk is still there and there are still conflicts escalating in various parts of the world, [but] a lot of times the best investment is [made] at the time when it feels less comfortable,” she said.