Real Estate Safest Bet Amid Volatile Markets, Sternlicht Says

Sternlicht: Real Estate Market Best to Invest In
  • Property is more insulated in the current difficult market
  • Sternlicht wary of lack of transparency in Chinese market

Barry Sternlicht, chairman of Starwood Capital Group, said sharp movements in stocks and a lack of liquidity makes real estate the best major market to invest in right now.

Starwood Capital, Sternlicht’s $44 billion real estate investment firm, is opting for safety by adding to its book of 40,000 apartments and 52 million square-feet of office space, he said in a television interview on "Bloomberg <GO>" with Stephanie Ruhle and David Westin.

“It’s a very difficult market,” Sternlicht said. “Real estate is far less volatile. We move in waves. The stock market moves on a dime and you don’t know why often.”

Sternlicht founded Starwood in 1991 after working for Chicago-based JMB Realty Corp. He started the company now known as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in 1995, running it until 2004 when he stepped down as CEO to become executive chairman. He resigned in 2005 and Starwood Hotels is no longer affiliated with Starwood Capital.

His firm still owns hundreds of hotels and backs a large single-family rental company, Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, which last month announced a merger with U.S. landlord Colony American Homes.

While real estate in the U.S. is a relatively safe bet, Sternlicht said he hasn’t put money into investments in China for several years.

“China is a company masquerading as a country,” he said. “They have the rules and they’re not showing them to you.”

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