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NEW YORK CITY-Diversification in real estate investment, whether it be by region or property type, is vital for success, said speakers on a real estate panel here during the US-Israel Executive Summit, put on by Israeli business publication TheMarker. “Diversification is meaningful and indispensable as we live in a world that has reduced barriers and prejudices among people,” said Lorenz Reibling, chairman and senior partner of Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings.

And even though “we basically had an equal opportunity bubble burst” across the globe, said Stuart Koenig, global chief administrative officer of locally based Area Property Partners, diversification “will remain paramount in any investment strategy.”

But if you’re not diverse, multifamily is probably the best sector to place your bets. Adrienne Albert, chief executive officer of Atlanta-based brokerage firm the Marketing Directors, says she is seeing condo transactions increase in Atlanta, Boston, New York City and Washington DC.

Also in the sector’s favor is an expected 33% spike in the US population by 2030 and limited supply, said Jonathan Kempner, director of Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT. “There is very little apartment development today,” he said. “There is very little in the pipeline.”

So when is what Koenig called the $50 billion of equity sitting on the sidelines waiting to pounce on distressed assets? “At the end of the day, where are we at in the cycle?” he asked himself. “I don’t think anyone has an answer to that.”

Stephen Siegel, chairman of CB Richard Ellis’ global brokerage, said the time to step up could come soon. “You don’t have to buy at the very bottom to make a substantial profit,” he contended. “In the early 90s those who waited for the bottom missed the boat completely.”

On the flipside, Reibling was more cautionary. “How deep the bottom is remains to be seen,” he said. “Patience is a virtue. If you miss anything, you maybe miss a couple of deals if you don’t buy early.”

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