WHAT’S YOUR OUTLOOK FOR ’08?

Well, the good news is that ’08 ain’t ’07. This Part Two Quick Poll (Part I was a fairly dismal take on the current year) shows a bit more optimistic outlook for next year, with 14% claiming they’re “Psyched,” and 57% stating they’re “Cautious, but Optimistic.” Only 28% see no hope, no light, no reason to be, checking the dour “We’re Screwed” box. Not so Vance Maddocks, not so. The CEO of L.A.-based CBRE Investors is cautiously gung-ho for 2008, and he has three little words to prove it:

“The three words I would use are active, challenging and opportunity. I’m going to speak globally because our organization is truly global at this point–half of our assets, half of our revenues and half of our people are outside the US.

“In terms of capital-raising, we expect we’ll be down slightly in ’08 but still raise a substantial amount of money. We’ll be down because there’s a cycle of products and when they’re in the market, and for no other reason than that. That capital leads to acquisitions, and the capital we’re raising in ’07 leads to what’s going to happen in ’08.

“Nevertheless, acquisitions globally will be up by about 30% next year, from the $10 billion in acquisitions this year. So it’s going to be a very active year, off of a very active 2007.

“It will be challenging from the perspective that this has really become an operator’s market. The way you make money for your investors and drive outstanding performance is by being a great operator, basic blocking and tackling–attracting and retaining tenants and repositioning real estate. There’s a lot of hard work ahead in terms of achieving returns for our investors.

“The other element that’s challenging is the capital markets. Most people involved in real estate use financing these days. We probably use a little less, but it’s still very challenging, in particular when you get into financing assets that are not necessarily well leased or stabilized. You have to be very good at it. You have to be creative and you have to work hard.

“In terms of opportunity, the market has clearly shifted, and we’re seeing opportunity at an extraordinary pace, and it comes on two fronts. First is buying any asset that’s not easily financed–again, I’m speaking globally–and providing capital for development. Those are the two areas of greatest opportunity.

“It’s definitely a time to be very disciplined and selective. It’s a dangerous environment, and if you’re not careful in how you’re pricing and selecting markets and how you’re selecting assets, there could be some disappointment..”

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