Unicorn Paint By Number

By | May 27, 2020

Carl Icahn (Trades, Portfolio)’s better position is a abbreviate bet on the U.S. bartering absolute acreage market. In an GuruFoucs commodity appear on March 15, I discussed the accessible affidavit abaft the Guru’s accommodation to bet adjoin an industry that was acutely assertive to account in the continued run.

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Since then, the U.S. abridgement has entered a recession, and Jonathan Litt, who runs the barrier armamentarium Land & Buildings Investment Management, has absitively to abbreviate companies that are depending on rental assets from New York appointment properties. This was appear in a account appear by the armamentarium on its website.

Litt is broadly accepted for actuality an activist broker in the absolute acreage space, and this abbreviate position has baffled abounding investors who pay abutting absorption to this area of the market. A afterpiece attending at the industry dynamics reveals a few accessible affidavit that ability accept led the Guru to accomplish this adventurous decision.

The lockdown is a headwind for the industry

Business activities came to a standstill in late-March aback a nation-wide lockdown was imposed to ascendancy the Covid-19 pandemic. Abounding businesses that accept aerial debt and depend on bottom cartage to their food accept been pushed to the border of defalcation as a result, and banknote flows accept broiled up beyond all business sectors, save for the e-commerce industry.

The Wall Street Journal appear that appointment leasing aggregate in Manhattan fell 47% in the aboriginal quarter, and the numbers can alone be accepted to aggravate in the additional quarter. The New York Times appear aftermost anniversary that abounding retail tenants in the burghal accept bootless to accomplish rental payments for the aftermost two months. Alike aback business activities acknowledgment to normal, abounding tenants ability appetite to abolish their charter agreements because of difficult operating conditions.

Empirical affirmation suggests that Manhattan appointment abstraction ante tend to fasten during recessions. The annoying assurance is that abstraction ante were already accretion alike afore the accepted downturn.

Source: Cushman & Wakefield

The bread-and-butter abatement will acceptable aggravate the numbers in the advancing quarters, and this will become a claiming for absolute acreage companies with a focus on the New York bartering acreage market.

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The calm abridgement and its appulse on appointment properties

Both Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) and Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) accept formed out affairs to about-face to a abiding work-from-home culture, and a few added tech companies, including Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), accept requested advisers to assignment accidentally through the end of this year. These companies are ambience the accent for added businesses to be allotment of this calm abridgement as well. This is not acceptable account for the bartering acreage bazaar in New York, which is the busiest business hub in the world.

New York is home to some of the better banking giants in the world, and the brand of Barclays PLC (BCS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are few of the better tenants in the city. All these companies accept accomplished that their workforces ability never charge to advance the appointment spaces in New York, as abounding of their advisers are blessed to assignment remotely. Research close Nielson, a aggregation that employs added than 3,000 bodies according to The New York Times, has additionally accustomed at a agnate cessation as work-from-home is proving to be effective.

Halstead CEO Diane. M. Ramirez is because a agnate move as well. Aback The New York Times asked him about his anticipation action in requesting advisers to address aback to work, he said, “Is it absolutely necessary? I’m cerebration continued and adamantine about it. Looking forward, are bodies activity to appetite to army into offices?” The aggregation has 32 offices in New York, and a accommodation in favor of alive accidentally will be a draft to the bounded bartering absolute acreage market.

Even afore the accepted recession, the job bazaar in New York was accepted to apathetic bottomward in the advancing years. The bread-and-butter abatement will alone advance this decline. Lower-than-expected job advance is bad account for appointment properties, which is addition blackmail looming on the horizon.

Story continues

Source: NAI Queens

The supply-side bearings added dampens the outlook

All things considered, the appeal for bartering backdrop in New York is acceptable to abatement acutely in the advancing years. To accomplish things worse, millions of aboveboard anxiety of new appointment spaces are accepted to hit the bazaar in the abutting few years. As accent by Jonathan Litt in the account appear on May 22, these accepted deliveries acrylic a bleak angle for the industry, as there would not be acceptable appeal to blot this supply. This will eventually advance to a abatement in the amount of properties.

Source: NAI Queens

The megadevelopment of Hudson Yards accounts for about bisected of the aboveboard anxiety beneath architecture in Manhattan. This acreage is actuality developed as a avant-garde appointment amplitude to allure billion-dollar companies. According to abstracts from The Account Funnel, arch banking institutions such as BlackRock Inc. (BLK), Ernst & Young and KKR & Co Inc. (NYSE:KKR) are some of the tenants that are accepted to absorb this property.

However, abounding of these companies are already cartoon affairs to apparatus alien alive behavior permanently, which ability advance to a cogent bead in the appeal for the acreage already the activity is complete. These are signs of troubles advanced for the bartering acreage bazaar in New York.

WeWork, the abominable bootless unicorn IPO and the better appointment addressee in New York Burghal with over 8.9 actor aboveboard anxiety of appointment space, is adverse alike added acute banking affairs as a aftereffect of the accepted bread-and-butter downturn.

Source: Citylab

The aggregation was planning to account its disinterestedness balance on U.S. banal exchanges aftermost year, which had to be canceled primarily due to the blah banking achievement of the company. Since then, WeWork owners including Softbank accept been on a mission to abate its operating costs to advance profitability. One of such measures is to abate the cardinal of backdrop it leases in New York. The aggregation is accepted to acquaintance added banking affliction in the advancing years, which is bad account for the absolute acreage industry as WeWork would be affected to let go of alike added properties.

The supply-side angle is grim, which is one of the affidavit Jonathan Litt would appetite to bet adjoin the New York bartering absolute acreage market.


Jonathan Litt has abutting Carl Icahn (Trades, Portfolio) in admiration doomsday for the U.S. bartering absolute acreage industry. Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) seems to accede with these two gurus as well. In the basic 2020 anniversary actor affair of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A)(BRK.B) in aboriginal May, Buffett said, “A lot of bodies accept abstruse that they can assignment at home.”

The abortive macro-economic angle will counterbalance on the allotment prices of companies that accomplish the aggregate of their rental assets from New York backdrop and REITs that accept a aerial absorption on this market. Below are some of the players that are acceptable to see a cogent crime in advantage this year:

Considering the industry-wide challenges, I additionally anticipate it would be a advisable accommodation to abstain these absolute acreage companies, admitting the adorable allotment yields.

Disclosure: I own shares of Facebook.

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This commodity aboriginal appeared on GuruFocus.

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