PricewaterhouseCoopers Real Estate Expert Doesn't Own Much Real Estate

Marketplace had a telling interview with Susan Smith of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the editor-in-chief of a new report about the commercial real estate market titled “Rough Road Ahead for Investors.”

She says that the commercial and residential real estate markets are different and there are still opportunities out there for investors… but she doesn’t invest in real estate much herself because she knows “what goes into it.”

Napoli: And that’s the upshot of this report, even though you’ve titled it “Rough Road Ahead for Investors”?

Smith: I believe so, because there’s more difficulty in going out and finding that property that you want to buy or even listing a property and trying to sell it, so in terms of what buyers and sellers were used to over the last ten years and what they’re encountering now, it’s definitely going to be a rough road, but it’s also important to realize that there are opportunities out there for investors. It’s just a matter of what your strategy is and I always like to think that real estate investors are optimistic.

Napoli: You also have to have a pretty strong stomach, I’d imagine.

Smith: I think you do, I think you do. People always say to me “well, you’re in real estate, I can’t believe you don’t own so much real estate” and I say I know what goes into it. I know how people react to all the things you have to watch in real estate: what’s going on with employment and what’s going on with the consumer and to me, there’s just too much to focus on that it does… you need a strong stomach and good optimism.

Mixed news for commercial real estate [Marketplace]


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  1. ColdNorth says:


  2. trademarked67 says:



    I agree. You also need the time to work the properties or hire someone else to do it. She probably doesn’t have the time, and if like me, might be hard to trust anyone else

  3. vastrightwing says:

    Kind of like stocks: you have to have the time to do it yourself.

  4. rpm773 says:

    I’m not sure how the point being made is relevant. I pretty much know Best Buy sucks, but I don’t shop there too often. Does that mean I’m wrong?

  5. dh86sj says:

    my oncologist doesn’t have much cancer…

  6. Totally off topic, but my sister lives in that tall building in the foreground of that photo!
    Somewhat on topic, her rent for a studio apartment there is more than my paycheck!

  7. DeleteThisAccount says:

    @LastVigilante: I use to live in the building where that picture was taken :)

  8. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If her expert opinion is that real estate is not a good investment right now, then she’s a smart expert.

  9. firestarsolo says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: It’s a buyer’s market. Every time housing goes down, people think it will never come back up, and the cycle repeats. Obviously nobody can tell the future, but why not delve in while the going is good instead of deciding when everyone else already has?

  10. Beerad says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: As firestarsolo points out, it’s actually probably a great investment right now. You can pick up crazy deals right now if you can stomach the economic rollercoaster these days and if you’re prepared to accept that your investment might go down in value before it goes up. This is the best time to buy in years! Bad for speculators, good for investors.

    As for the point of the post, add my *yawn* to those above. I heard that Stephen Hawking has never been shot into a black hole, yet he goes around claiming to understand quantum gravity!! Scandalous!

  11. econobiker says:

    Read a great book about stock brokers. It was written prior to internet trading and before the Dot.Com stock insanity. The guy wrote about starting in the basement level as a assistant / trainee and working his way up to a star trader through various firms. He wrote about star traders treated people, how to game the system if he messed up, pump and dump organized crime stock scams, people fishing for IPO insider trading access, the whole gambit.

    He finally got out with $1 million cash in the bank and married a woman who was a lawyer – he bacame a Mr. Mom to their twin children. Funny thing was that he never ever invested in the stocks he sold or any stocks for that matter. All his profits were from commissions only.

    The people who push the product don’t necessarily use the product…

  12. disavow says:

    Makes sense, most ex-McDonald’s employees I know will never eat there again, cuz they know what goes on behind the scenes. Whereas they can be sure similar stuff happens elsewhere, but they don’t know that it does. Rational ignorance ftw.

  13. LUV2CattleCall says:


    So…are you saying that Wilford Brimley DOESN’T have dia-beetus?

  14. amandabee says:

    I know she didn’t say anything about conflict of interest, but if you’re heavily invested in the real estate market, you have a lot to gain from its gains. So if you’re going around saying “oh yes, buy real estate” and what you really mean is “don’t let this market crash before I get out of it,” that does seem like sort of a conflict.