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Apr 14, 2022

Peter Linneman is an author of the Linneman Letter, the former Professor of Real Estate, Finance, and Public Policy at the Wharton School of Business. Previously listed as one of the top 25 most influential people in commercial Real Estate.

In this episode we talked about:

  • Real Estate Finance and Investments Book
  • Valuation of Real Estate assets
  • Inflation in Real Estate
  • Relationship between corporates and interest rates
  • Peter’s thoughts on Real Estate Asset Classes
  • Overview of Retail Real Estate
  • Office Market
  • Future of Commercial Real Estate Industry
  • Advice to Real Estate Newcomers
  • Resources and Lessons Learned

Useful links:

Books: Factfulness : Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley


Jesse (0s): Welcome to the working capital real estate podcast. My name is Jesper galley. And on this show, we discuss all things real estate with investors and experts in a variety of industries that impact real estate. Whether you're looking at your first investment or raising your first fund, join me and let's build that portfolio one square foot at a time. Ladies and gentlemen, my name's Jessica gal, and you're listening to working capital the real estate podcast, a special, special guests today. We just chatted about this. If you don't know him by now, I don't know if you want to know him.


And that is Dr. Peter Lindemann. He's the author of the Lindemann letter, the former professor real estate and finance and public policy at the Wharton school of business. And he was previously listed as one of the top 25, most influential people in commercial real estate. Peter, how you doing?


Peter (49s): I'm doing great. I just got back from Egypt. So my background is a long lasting quality piece of real estate. The Luxor, temple, and luck soar. So good reminder that great real estate lasts like four or 5,000 years.


Jesse (1m 6s): There's a book I'm reading right now and it's on the evolution of skyscrapers and it goes back to the pyramids. It goes back to the, the renderings and the Bible of places that may be existed. Architecturally looks sound, but that is a, it's fantastic to see how we've come from there to where we're at today. And, and, and the drive for humans to build up. Hasn't seemed to wane in any way


Peter (1m 28s): When you see this stuff from three, four or 5,000 years ago. Yo okay. They got it.


Jesse (1m 35s): Yeah. Well, thanks so much for coming on. I, I think this is a real treat for listeners, for anybody watching the video. I'm holding up my real estate and finance and investment book written by the doctor, Peter Lindemann. And I mean, if you're in the real estate industry in any capacity, you will have to have come across this book. I think this, for me, it was second year of the MBA in Toronto and it was just chock full of amazing things. This thing. How long has it been now? When, when was this first published?


Peter (2m 5s): Oh, gee probably 16 years ago or 17 years ago was the first edition it's come to be referred to as the blue Bible. I don't know if that's a good description. It came about very oddly. And then I was teaching my real estate finance investment course for a number of years and I never had a book that I could find that I really liked. So I was teaching my own stuff, but I assigned a book to students because they needed something. So we finally recorded my lectures and after a lot of work and a lot of down additions, that's what came out of it.


Jesse (2m 40s): Yeah. Well, it's great. It's funny. I'd like, you know, you go through a time period where you're like, okay, I got to get rid of these books. Usually the textbooks are the first to go, but I've hung on to this one for a long time, just because I've actually kind of gone back to it. And now that we're at the stage in the career where we're hiring younger individuals, you know, this is something where, you know, they're probably reading in school, but it's definitely something that they can use as a resource.


Peter (3m 4s): Well, and one of the other things nice, is this a nice color? So while it's on your bookshelf, it looks good.


Jesse (3m 10s): Yeah. Yeah. It's not a, it's not that old school. Just topes. Well, you know what? There was a, so we chatted a little bit earlier. You were on a podcast that I recommend a hunter Thompson cashflow connections podcast. And there was something that I was driving in the car, listening to this podcast. And I had to write down because I was just like, you know what? This is it, it was something you said, and it was just an insight. And maybe we could use it kind of as a springboard for this conversation because that conversation did talk a lot about the economics of real estate and where we find ourselves today.


And what you said was demand as loosely described as real GDP growth is up 3% and goods as loosely described by industrial output are down by 1% and services as loosely proxied by employment is 1% short. Demand is up. Supply is down prices. Go up. Can you break that down for us? What we're talking about here?


Peter (4m 7s): Yeah. I mean, I think you broke it down really well. I think this there's very real inflation. The very real inflation started to occur. Let's just do a quick review. 20, 22 years ago, things are shut down. Like a third of the economy is shut. Not just slow shut. And then another third is really slow, but not shut. And then another third is working well, when you shut things, there are ramifications of that.


So for example, two years ago, the price of oil is like five, $10 a barrel. So what do you do with the tar sands? Shut them down. What do you do with the fracking? Shut them down because they aren't even close to break. Even. I'm just taking those as dramatic examples. Then what happens is fortunately the economy I'm talking about the us, but I think the Canadian pretty similar by very late 20 and then through 21 starts growing and it grew faster in its comeback.


Then supply came back. Now that's not surprising when you think about it because things are really awful. Do you expect supply to lead demand? No. Common sense says I wait to see if things are really there before I expand and bring on capacity. So what you've got is real GDP, kind of a crude metric of us demand up 3.2% versus pre COVID not annually.


The two years since COVID began and goods, output is down 1%, as you're saying, and employment is down 1%. And as you said, you don't have to be a genius to figure out supply down 1% from where it was in 2019, demand up three and a half percent prices are up. Now, you're going to have a long discussion of which prices and how much, some more than others. It's that simple.


When will price inflation, moderate, pretty simple. When supply catches up now there's this notion that we have to cool demand. And I asked people, would we be better off if we had no inflation right now? And GDP was also down 1% over those two years, by the way, if real GDP was down 1% and industrial output was down 1% and employment was down 1%. You think we'd have much inflation right now?


No. Would we be better off? Absolutely not. We'd be four and a half percent worse off. So you go, okay. It's a good thing. In fact, no is a good thing. It's a staggeringly amazing thing that after the last two years where we shut down huge plus in the economy, political division, COVID killing millions of people, many more, getting sick absenteeism at work, social unrest, a war now, I mean, name all this stuff that's happening.


And we're three and a half percent or 3.2% larger as an economy than before. That's amazing but left to its own devices. It would have been up about five and a half percent. So demands, not overheated. If, if real GDP was up 10%, then I'd say that's overheated. We can't do that. But we can do five to five and a half percent over a two year period. We've only done three. And at 3.2% under heated, we still need demand to keep driving forward.


We don't want to slow down demand. We want to encourage supply. So if we were going to do policies, the kind of policies we need are, and I'm just giving as an example, I'm not proposing them. Gee, you drill an oil well this year, or you start pumping from a well that isn't pumping. You could write it off in a year, right? You think you get more expiration with that as an incentive, or if you hire somebody net, net, you net, net expand your employment, you get a $4,000 tax credit.


Or if you come back to work after not having work for six, six months, I'm all of these. I'm just making up. As examples, you get a $2,000 tax credit is an individual. You think we'd bring back more late. Do you think we bring back more capacity? And as we did, what would happen to prices they go down. So I don't think this is about demand. It is in some tautological sense. It's about supply has made an amazing recovery from a shutdown, but still legs.


And I don't know how a lot of Terry policy gets us to bring back capacity faster and that's a real activity, so to screen. So that's how I see it. And it has some ramifications for real estate. Your, your construction costs are really going up, right? I mean, that's not an imagination, but on the other hand, so are your rents, so are your property values and you have to take the whole menu.


It's like when you played cards and you got three ACEs and a two and a three, Hey, that's a pretty good hand. You got three ACEs, be happy. Don't don't gripe about gee. I should have forays. Right? All things considered pretty good here.


Jesse (9m 48s): So when it comes to real estate, from the point of view of a couple of variables, there's, there's inflation in the general economy that people just seem to be continuing to worry about time and time. Again, this time it's different as Howard marks will, would, you know, titles each one of his chapters in his latest book. But what I'm curious about is from a real estate perspective, we have the valuation of the real estate asset, and we have those prices in our markets and a lot of other major markets in north America going up. And the concern is that these cap rates get compressed and compressed.


How much lower can these cap rates get compressed? What I'm curious about is it the going to be the valuation that gets out of control or will it be the affordability from a rent perspective that you see as the governing the governor? So to speak on in that dynamic,


Peter (10m 36s): Ultimately it's the fundamentals. And that would go to the mortar. The rent side price is just an outcome, right? Price is a comp bow. You know, the value of a property is the combination of the supply and demand for space, right? Namely income and occupant or retina occupancy and the supply and demand for money to buy income streams, right? And they don't necessarily always align. We're in a period where list supplying demand for space.


Retina occupancy is in quite good shape unless you were in senior housing, unless you're in hospitality, still lagging, unless you're in bad retail, unless you're in office where you don't know if people are coming back to the office. But if you're in apartments and warehouse and good retail, quite good Retin-A occupancy side. Now on the capital side, what's happened is QE one, QE two QE three.


After the financial crisis put unprecedented amounts of money into the system. And you saw coming out in 2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and that money searching for a home pushed down cap rates. And everybody kept saying, oh, cap rates are going to go up cap rates. But I kept saying, no, the weight of money is going to push it down. Now we've even put in a lot more money. In addition into this system, what do you think happens when that money comes out?


When that money comes out, it's got to find a home. So for example, we have record personal cash holdings. We have record corporate cash holdings. We have record dry private equity capitals. We have direct record, dry uncommitted, money, sovereign wealth and pensions vis-a-vis real estate. And we have record unused bank reserves. What do you think happens when they may still be at record levels, but a little lower record levels?


And the answer is that money's going to find a home and it's going to find it buying cash streams. Some of that is on the stock market. Some of it is real estate. Some of it is gold. And I think cap rates go down now, do they go down every day? No. And people say, well, how much lower they can? Can they go? Things can always go 2% lower. This is one of the things that you remember when you learned about penny stocks. And somebody said, how can you lose? They only cost a penny and you'd go, well, they could go to a half a penny, right?


They could go to a quarter of a penny. So how can the cap rate go lower than 3.7? Well, it can go to 3.6. It can go to 3.5. And the reason is the weight of money. So what do I mean by the weight of money? The example I use scope, the thought experiment. We've done a lot of statistical work on this that I won't go into saying, let them in, let her it's other stuff we've written, but here's the thought experiment. Very simple. Suppose I told you a year from now $4 trillion.


I don't care if it's Canadian or us $4 trillion. In addition to the amount already invested is trying to invest in apartment buildings. Okay. Well, you think will happen to cap rates. They'll go down. By the way, you didn't ask what's the economy like you didn't ask. What are interest rates get in, say, as the yield curve inverted, you simply said, well, that kind of money. It's got to find it. It's going to bid up the values bed down, cap rates.


Now flip that thought experiment. Suppose I told you that a year from now a trillion dollars is exiting apartment buildings. By the way, you could apply this to any property category. And you'd say, wow, that's going to be a problem. A trillion dollars trying to get out is going to crush values. And you go, you didn't know what interest rates were when you made that insight. You didn't know what the economy was. The point is the weight of money and we have put unprecedented amounts of money and it hasn't really come out yet to speak of.


And it will, and it will be asset price inflation, not con goes to the services.


Jesse (15m 5s): So question on that, we've had a economist on the show before of maybe on the one side, closer to the Austrian school, the other side, the modern monetary theory MMT. And for listeners, I would just look up both of those to learn a little bit more. But this idea that when the great financial crisis was happening, there was a number of economists that were saying, you're putting money into the economy, like your example, 4 trillion, 5 trillion that is going to cause inflation, no matter what, however, what was happening was it was sitting on balance sheets of banks. It wasn't getting into the economy.


And I always think about Milton Friedman's. I think it was his Nobel part of it was this velocity of money. You can't just go into the Connie. It actually has to move to create some form of inflation. So, so in this example, could you talk a little bit about when you say the 4 trillion in the market, does that mean on bank's balance sheets? Does that mean it's it's circulating, are those necessary conditions?


Peter (15m 60s): Yeah. At this moment, the same thing happened that I happened after , which is the amount of money going into the banks skyrocketed and the velocity with which they used it. So that in the beginning, there was no notable effect on the economy. It just kept the ship steady, if you will. And then the money started coming out slowly. Well actually slowly, just a little more rapidly than it did before.


And remember the modern banking system is not set up to lend you money to buy a Milky way is set up to have a, an investment firm by the company that makes Milky way, right. It's set up for that. And that's why as 2014 through 19 occurred the money chase assets rather than goods and services. Right? And so I think that's, what's going to happen again by enlarge the money, went into the system to keep it afloat in the way you described it, to make sure there was liquidity.


I think it did it well. And now what will happen over the next few years is it will come out. Will all of it come out? No, the velocity dropped, but as some of it starts coming in, when if I put a ton in beyond whatever you have, even if only a thousand pounds of it come out. So a lot of weight, right? A lot of weight, if I put a hundred tons in even of only a thousand pounds come out, it's still a lot of weight.


It's not much compared to what went into your point about velocity, but it's more than would have otherwise been there. And I think it will chase primarily assets now would include single family homes in that as an asset, right? It's a real ass.


Jesse (17m 55s): Now when it comes to the economy itself, well, you know what, let's back up for a second. I did have somebody from my office. They said, you know, you have to ask, I told them I was having you on. And he said, ask him about the relationship between cap rates and interest rates. Cause we talk a lot about that spread in our industry quite a bit basically. Is it a significant piece of what you guys look at over, over the longterm? How is it tracked? You know, and you mentioned earlier that Lindemann letter, we'll put a link up to that as well, but I'm just curious in the work that you do, how important that relationship is.


If at all,


Peter (18m 29s): If there's a relationship, it would be important. However, having studied it, we can't find a relationship other than that. So I'll give you, for example, in, I think it's the, I can't remember if it's 40 years of 45 years, basically the 10 year treasury yield has fallen by 600 basis points. And the cap rate fell by 300. That's hardly one to one. Then if you look at the micro history of that movement, it's all over the place.


That is to say the spread movements in the spread, basically swamp, the general downward decline, right? That'd be the spreads are all over the place over history. Then go one step further and I'll give another example. We looked at it very sophisticated. Statistically, can't find it. Can't find the correlation. Now, by the way, if you said the interest rate 10 year treasury went from 2.3% today to 14% tomorrow, that would probably have an impact, but that's not likely to happen.


If you said it went from 2.3 to 2.9 or 3.2 or back down to 1.6, by the way we saw it go from 1.6 to 2.3, what happened to cap rates? They went down. If anything, why? Because of the way the money, not the caused the interest rates went up and there was this not interest rates going up causing price, cap rates go down. It's just no relationship. I'll give you the other that captures it. If you look at 2007, cap rates were essentially identical to 2019, okay.


2007, 2019 and 2007, the long and the short rate were above 5%. And in 2019, the short rate, what I'm doing from memory was 2.5 or 2.6. And the long rate was 3.2. How can that be? If it's interest rates that are causing them, that interest rates are 200 basis points higher and you still have the same cap rate that should tell you something, right? And in fact, we've seen periods where there's a flight to quality.


When there's a flight to quality interest rates go down and cap rates go up well so much for the step relationship. It just doesn't exist. At least in the relevant parameters, at least that we can find, or that I've seen. One other thing I'd add about interest rates that I kind of tell friends and clients to call them down. Let's assume let's just assume that a year from now, we're sitting here and the long rates at 3.2% and the short rates at 2.5%.


Okay. A lot of interest rate movement upward. Okay. Is that a disaster? No, that's 2019. That's 2019. Those interest rates I just described we 2019, if we'd have had this conversation in 2019, you would have said, how much longer can these low interest rates last, right? You wouldn't be referring to them as high. I'm sure you had that conversation with people.


Right? So to understand that even a big interest rate movement back is simply to 2019, which by the way, most real estate people said, thank you very much. This is pretty cheap money because it is, we then had a fire sale where the government gave money away. If you were willing to borrow. And the biggest borrower of course, was the U S government biggest borrow in the world during that was the us government. They subsidized you as government and they subsidized borrowers.


Well, if they stopped subsidizing borrowers, that hurts far worse. It helps lenders. It helps savers and it hurts debtors, but it's not like one's more noble than the other, a dollar gain by one or lost by the other washes primarily. So I don't get hung up on that balance. Sheets are pretty sane. And so he just had to have a bit of context. And by the way, telling the us government that their money isn't free is not the worst thing we could do because they're like little children.


If Candy's free, the little children are given candy for free. Right. And he said, whoa, you got to slow down. You got to buy, you got to buy that. Right. Slows them down. That's Congress, if you give them or the system, if you give it free money, guess what they use it like it's free. Yeah.


Jesse (23m 27s): So when it comes to, when it comes to like speaking of washes, when it comes to the other asset classes that we deal with in commercial real estate, retail, industrial multi Rez office space, what we had in our office, which was not dissimilar. I think now we're at 85 locations, 85 major markets. And what we had in our headquarters was during COVID. We almost were revenue was down top-line was down, but it was close. And what happened was we had industrial and multi Raz really were the darlings of the industry.


And they, they kind of made up for retailer, like you said, not, you know, grocery store anchored or really good retail. And on the other side, the office, so office and retail was the drag. Those other two asset classes came up and, you know, picked up the slack. Do you see this trend? Continuing? What are your thoughts on, on the various asset class classes moving forward?


Peter (24m 24s): Okay. Real quick multifamily. In December, 2020, I wrote a piece we're entering the golden era of multifamily investing. And it was because spreads were big capital was available to borrow debt was being given away a because of the subsidy rent unoccupancy are good and going to get a lot better. Well, pro that happened in the last 15 months, it's still has legs, but some of the gold is already been harvested.


All right. So it's not like we're in a bad period for multifamily, but we're in a golden period, but a lot of the gold has already been harvested. Retinol, occupancy look good going forward, demographics. So good fundamental under supply of housing, multi, especially single. And so it has good fundamentals. It can be overbuilt, but then you go to industrial and industrial took me a while to figure out, I think I finally figured it out. Normally you would think if GDP I'm using it as a crude measure of demand, if it grew by two and a half percent, we'd need about two and a half percent more warehouse because two and a half percent of more GDP, two and a half percent more boxes, right.


Just kind of crudely. And that had kind of been a good rule of thumb. We always did more precisely, but as a rule of thumb. And then what happened is we'd see two and a half percent of growth of GDP and 4% growth in warehouse and demand. Didn't say, well, that's odd. Can't last. And then the next year you'd see the same thing, 2016, then the next thing in 70 next thing in 1819, you kept seeing, I finally figured out that if you buy that shirt in a store, it takes one third of the warehouse space that if you buy it online, because an online facility has wider aisles, more staging areas, small box handling, rather than big box handling, lot more loading in and out needed a lot more moving around than let's move a box here or there let's move a pallet.


So online sales use about three times the amount of space. Well that me and this two and a half generates four is about the right math. And given the growth of online, that's going to continue for a number of years. So when does the rent and occupancy balance, when we start building for four and a half percent and demand grows it for four and a half percent, well, that's not going to happen for another couple of years. So the rent unoccupancy fundamentals there look pretty good.


Even as we build more and more the real risks, there are two, one, a lot of online sales don't make money. And a lot of retailers realize that during the pandemic. So are they still going to be so aggressive selling online? And if not, it gets closer to the two and a half generates two and a half. And the other is everyone. Somebody wakes up whole bunch of people wake up at Amazon saying, how do we get it from three times, the amount of footage needed for an online sale to two times.


And if they do that, it changes the math. You then go to retail. I've never wanted to own bad retail. I've always wanted to own good retail. If you own good retail, you're constantly having to reinvent it through its entire history. But if it's a great location and you have a core of good retailers, it's a dynamic business. It's a hard grinded out business. I love the dynamics of great retail. And in fact, online sales have been flat for the last year high, but flat while brick retail is getting record sales and as online gets back to trend, then the trend will continue.


And, but I like good retail. Why would I like bad retail? I mean, it just, and I remember Al Talman long time, kind of one of the gods of the industry, certainly one of the gods of retail, I don't know, 30 years ago, 35 years ago said you can't buy bad retail, cheaply enough to make it work. And that's because even if you get it for almost nothing, your rent cannot be cut low enough to change the price of Cheerios.


And if you can't change the price of Cheerios people, aren't going to shop there. And if they're not going to shop there, you don't have good retail. Right. So good retail. I like the outlook for hotels making a comeback. Weakest part is if you're highly dependent on Chinese tourists, kind of a, what a two-star three-star Chinese tourists. They're not coming back for another couple of years. And if that was your sweet zone was playing to them, that that's going to still be, that's going to be the slowest recovery, but it looks like this summer pending another surge, absent another surge, going to be a great summer and into the fall.


Jesse (29m 47s): So before we get to office, I just, I just had a question, a question on retail. You know, whether it's north America in general, whether it's American or, or a Canadian, I think it's 32, 33 square foot of retail per capita. I think something like that, we're not much better in Canada than the U S obviously the European countries have not built as much. Do you see that there's this conversation or has been over the last two years that, you know, a lot of these potentially multi-family or retail, you know, lower tier areas are going to be re developed repurpose whether it's industrial or whether, you know, whether it's multi rise.


Is that something you do see, you know, developers actually looking at that


Peter (30m 28s): It's the pandemic probably sped it up because it pushed so many retailers that we're going to go out of business, out of business. The thing that kept them from shutting, I mean, we looked at doing some of those deals. The problem is you have one tenant paying $2 a foot. So even though they're only selling $114, they actually make profit in the store at, at $2 a foot rent. And that's because the lease was signed 30 years ago with auctions, right.


I'm being extreme, but you get the point and nobody else wants to be there, but I can't buy it, shut it down and build apartments. Or I can't do anything with it. That happens over time. That will happen over time. So, absolutely. And this notion that we have too much retail reminds me, remember, you're old enough. You remember how you would drive by the old industrial areas of America. And you just see these empty warehouses, these empty 1920s, 1910s, 1940s buildings that works counted as empty industrial, but they weren't empty industrial.


They were just empty space. And if you wanted to call them industrial column industrial, but it's not real. If you got rid of the space in retail, that's irrelevant. It was once retail, but it's irrelevant. Just like that old factory that shut in 1972 was irrelevant as industrial space. The amount of footage we has have goes way down. Now, that's not to say it gets to the right amount, but it goes way down in the same way the old industrial did.


That's what we ought to have. We ought to have. If people are really carefully, they've created a new class obsolete, real estate of any type, right? And then you'd see the retail stock go down. You'd see the industrial stock go down. Although the industrial has kind of run its course, those old old buildings have been dealt with over the last 20 years.


Jesse (32m 38s): So the wild card office space we've seen, we track all the, the major markets we have seen pretty much every U S market has come back from a cell phone data that we have into the major cities. We are a little bit slower just because our government policies have been, they are what they are. We'll not get into a political thing here. But what we have seen is a lot of these markets, a huge increase in the percentage of the office market being subleased space.


Now we're starting to see that trend go the other way, starting to come back down and what I, what we've seen in the markets that we are in here is that really good positioned office space in major cities continue. And it looks like the outcome look as positive, potentially not the same for the suburban area. What are your thoughts on, on the office? Just philosophically first and then maybe some of the data that you're seeing.


Peter (33m 33s): Oh, I totally agree with your view. I think people have a fall. People fell in love with this fantasy that I don't have to be work. I don't have to be at work. I don't have to be answerable. I'm self-motivated to work at home. If you're really honest, you have to be pretty highly, self-motivated pretty disciplined. Have a good work environment and be able to control your schedule pretty effectively. Well, there are people like that. Those are the people who are already working at home. Those are the people who are working from the airport.


Those were the people who were working while they were on the road, et cetera. I've well having said that, I'm always amazed that when I fly back from Europe, which I do quite a bit and I'm in business class. So these are quote, a lot of worker types. And when you're flying from Europe to the United States, it's a Workday, right? It's not night. It's not like when you go the other direction and it's night look around and see what people, these business people, these hard working disciplined people are doing as they fly from Europe to the United States about a third sleep and, and, and all of it, about 10% of the others.


Do nothing, read a book or watch a movie. Well, this is a work day for God's sake. So I'm sitting there working away, working away where Kiawah and I realized most people don't have that discipline. I'm not saying I'm great. I'm just saying they don't have that discipline. The other variant of that, that I like to point out to people is I think Ricky is a brilliant writer comedian. And he created the office in many things. We created the office, both the British and us version. And it was built around the notion that it's really hard to get people to work while they're at the office.


If you think it's really hard working while you got them at the office, what do you think Ricky do? Surveys is show working from home would look like, I mean, let's be honest, right? And people would go back now and give you the last reason. I think people go back and it's self preservation. There's tipping points here. And if nobody's at the office, what's the point of week going to the office, right? I mean, if all I'm going to do is go to the office and sit alone and not interact and be around people.


There's no advantage then is a whole lot of people get there and there's advantages. And then as more than the majority are there, I got to be there because otherwise, I don't know what they're saying about me. And I don't know who's getting the plum assignments so it can flip from if nobody's there. There's absolutely no reason to go there. But basically everybody, when I say everybody, I mean, everybody all at 2019, basically everybody's there like it or not.


I got to be there to protect myself. And self-defense is an amazing instinct of our species. And that's what ultimately is going to bring us back.


Jesse (36m 43s): I had a number of people early in the pandemic. They, you know, they knew, I worked in commercial real estate. We specialize for the most part in an office. And they were like, you know, what are your thoughts on the, on, you know, the pandemic. It turns out, you know, the zoom calls all this, you know, we, you can work from home. And my response was always, if you're in my industry and you don't know that this was a secular trend that was happening happening long before, COVID this idea of agile offices, you know, working for, and we needed kind of a kick in the butt to get the technology where we needed.


I don't think you've been kind of paying attention to the market. I think my outlook is that it's, it's a general positive thing, but you know, I'm a, I'm the perfect candidate as a commercial broker that I sh I should be able to work at home all day. No problem. And I can, but like you said, as motivated as I am being around my team, being accountable to them, physically seeing them being in the space, having just a different idea of my TVs over here, you know, versus my couches over here versus I'm in the office. And I'm in a different mode that it seemed like a insignificant thing at the beginning of COVID I've come to realize it's a, it's a crucial part of how I work.


Peter (37m 49s): So one of the things I say to people I'm old, I'm 71. One of the things I say to people is I'm not sure that this zoom wouldn't be better if you couldn't see me, because I'm not that good looking okay. And that's called a conference call now. Yes, it wasn't encrypted. And yes. So I'm not trying to say technology. Hasn't made it better, easier for you to get a lot of viewers all in, at once and so forth and so on versus a conference call.


But we were doing from 2011 to 2019, we were doing quarterly economic updates for our subscribers. That would have like 500 people on old old-fashioned phone hookup. We didn't have big problems. And I didn't get a lot of people saying, oh, I'm going to commit suicide because I didn't see your lovely face. And let's be honest. You're a good looking guy. I'm not, there are a few people we're looking at, but most of us, it doesn't add to the conversation.


Jesse (38m 57s): Yeah. I'll be happy if I look like that at 71, Peter. So don't sell yourself short. We've got about 10 minutes left here. I want to be a little mindful of your time. But before, before we wrap up, maybe you could kind of provide a little bit of insights, crystal ball for us. You know, what you think the future holds for the commercial real estate industry. And maybe you could kind of couch that with this idea of, you know, people talking about the potential next recession, interest rates going up political unrest.


W what are your thoughts?


Peter (39m 29s): Okay. If we don't have a huge re occurrence of some very bad version of COVID, right? 'cause that's, that's, we shut down to varying degrees. Okay. If we don't have NATO somehow dragged into the Ukrainian situation, which could be very violent and, and really escalate. And we don't have a political reaction like we did in 1971, when Nixon introduced wage and price controls, the U S economy is going to do terrific for the next four or 5, 6, 7 years.


Most of the excesses that existed, not saying all most got white washed out of the system in 20 20, 20, 21, it was kind of a reset, kind of a reboot. We got a new base zero, and I think we get 5, 6, 7 years of runway, unless we do something. We, as a species, do something that really is harmful and COVID would fit that the, the NATO being dragged in militarily and wage and price control.


I saw wage and price controls. When I was just out of college, destroy an economy, I mean, overnight destroy an economy, and it would do it. It could, it would do it again. That's the biggest risk I see to the economy, because I think that's more possible than the COVID being huge or the, or the NATO, but they're all possible short of that. The economy is going to do just fine. And I'll give you my reaction. And I've only started saying this.


I don't know if I set it on hunters, which is a true story, by the way, I'll tell you when I'm lying. True story is I had lunch with a friend about three, four weeks ago. And he said, you know, Peter, I follow you and smart and all this stuff. Great, wonderful. But interest rates going to go up and inflation and the divided Congress and Ukraine. And by the way, he went on to name like six sings.


Each of them, very real. It's not like these out of touch. Each of them is a very real chance that our education system is, is, you know, shambles, you know, and so forth. And he said, therefore, I don't see the U S economy has a future. I don't see how we come back from this one. I just don't see how we grow from it. And I said, Bob was named Bob. I said, Bob, anytime in my life, any intelligent person could have laid out six to seven big challenges that existed at that moment.


And the next word shouldn't be there for it should be. And yet we grew and I'll come back to what we just went through. Imagine in 2019, we had this conversation and we were completely Pressy. And you would have said, Peter, we're going to have COVID, we're going to have a shutdown of a third of the economy. We're going to have riots in our cities. We're going to have Congress, can't get along.


We're going to have a highly contentious election. They're going to be in the Capitol building. What have I missed? Right. Inflation oil prices at a hundred and whatever, a barrel, excuse me. And you would've said therefore, in 2019, if you were completely prescient, you just said, therefore, we can't grow. I'd come back to you and say, Jesse grew three and a half percent. In spite of imagine what we do when we only have a short list of those things.


So I think if I had one message, that's it. And therefore, if you're in the real estate business, you're in the business of satisfying that growth, right? That's what our business is when you come down to it, you're in the business. And so, you know, could there be a bad period, then there's been bad periods. The amazing thing is how short they are and how shallow they are. They don't seem short while they're going on. It's like when you have the flu or COVID, it doesn't seem like short when you got, but when you look back, it's a blip and it doesn't seem that minor.


But when it's done, I had two hip replacements and it was not fun as you're doing it. But, you know, in the big scheme of life, there was nothing particularly same with the economy and its downs.


Jesse (44m 22s): I like that in spite of not therefore. And the reason I was laughing is because I remember two, two and a half years ago being in an office and we were talking, it was right at the pinnacle of coworking and we work. And we just said to the other brokers were like, I don't understand how they can continue to do this. And we said, well, barring, any geopolitical event or global pandemic. I swear to God, somebody said this in the meeting, you know, then, you know, we'll see what happens. And then what happens a year later? And it turns out that, you know, we worked a little bit of a different story, but the office market looks like it's coming back.


Coworking looks like it's going through a shift. But I really liked that in spite of that is a glass half full.


Peter (45m 2s): That would be, if I had one message, I'd hope everybody would take one message. It's not, therefore it's in spite of. And by the way, think about your, I was alive when wage and price controls are going on. Nixon resigned in disgrace. This is the person who had been the speaker of the house a couple of years prior to that is suddenly the president. And by the way, you know, we had just finished Vietnam and, and, and inflation is high and taxes are high.


And we grew over, you know, when you kind of, holy cow, this is a powerful machine. It's an insight of machine. Not as therefore machine. Now, obviously if you get a, therefore, if you get a Venezuela, right. That's, that's when it becomes a, therefore we aren't a Venezuela.


Jesse (45m 55s): Yeah. Well, hopefully we're not, we're not tracking the Boulevard here in Canada or the U S but Peter, in terms of, so I want to wrap up, I want to give listeners a way to reach out. Or if, if anybody wants to connect online before we do, we typically ask our guests a couple of questions, I'm going to make these brief. So if you're okay, I'll send these off to you. They're pretty, they're pretty straight forward.


Peter (46m 18s): Okay, great.


Jesse (46m 19s): For younger individuals getting into our industry, what advice would you give to them?


Peter (46m 24s): Reed, Reed, and then whatever you do read more and then whatever you do read. And the only thing I footnote read to include real podcasts like yours, all right. Real thought podcasts, not just, not just political rant podcast, right? Real podcasts. I try to start every morning while I'm doing a little exercise, listening to a podcast outside of my expertise. And so I would include serious podcast in the read category.


You just want to attain knowledge. You want to attain judgment through others. You want to hear what people who are, they may not be smarter than you, but they've got a different set of experiences. They've got a different set of expertise. They're not necessarily right. Get as much of that as you can, and start building your own tapestry of knowledge and insight, which is all these little stuff. I mean, I really need all of these little threads coming together.


Jesse (47m 26s): So the second ties into the first what's a book. I mean, you, you are the author in our industry. What's a book you would recommend for anybody in our industry or outside in general.


Peter (47m 35s): Well, I mean, it's, self-serving that to a young person, it is self-serving, but I would say my book, real estate, finance and investments, if you were to say, this is also self-serving, but I also believe it in they're going to be dramatic changes in how long people live. So Albert Ratner and Mike Rosen, and I have a book coming out in September called degrade age reboot, and it's going to change. It's going to change. I love to come back as it comes out and talk to you with Dr.


Mike. But when it comes out, it will give you insights on what's going on in modern medicine and what it means for our society. And I give you just a snippet, right? A very tiny little snippet. Imagine genetic engineering could eliminate fat, excess fat. Okay. First of all, medical expenditures would go way down healthcare expenditures. We'd have some number like two to $3 trillion more to spend on other stuff.


What do you want to spend it on? Not to mention that. And I'm just being simple on that one. And there's hundreds of you on that one. Gee, I'd want to short WeightWatchers and go long. And Haagen-Dazs because of anything I eat doesn't cause fat because of the genetic engineering, then bring it on Haagen dies. Right? So, I mean, there's so that now, if you said to me a great book that any there's two books that I would recommend that anybody thoughtful and intelligent, I think should be aware of.


One is called fat fullness, F a C T F U L N ESS, by Hans roster. He's now deceased. That's about three years old. And it's an amazing book that talks about how our images of the world are locked in and not reflective of reality. And the reality is generally much better than we think. And the other along the similar lines, but very different is the rational optimist by Matthew Ridley.


And that's probably about eight, nine years old. But the theme of it is the typical person watching this lives massively better than the king of France, you know, in the 14 hundreds. And you go, wow. You know, I live better than the person who resided in Versailles and he gives much more coaching examples. The other thing I would do, I was a big Hans Rosling fan.


There's an amazing YouTube about four minutes long. And if you put in Han's Rosslyn, F R O S L I N G the world growth explained in four minutes or something like that, it's a four minute video that will leave you feeling good at the end.


Jesse (50m 36s): Yeah. We'll put a link up to that. I think I've seen this one before,


Peter (50m 41s): So, but those would be the two books I would kind of think everybody could read.


Jesse (50m 46s): That's great. Okay. Peter, we're at the end here. Our last quick question, I ask every guest, it's usually more interesting with the, the older guests first car make and model.


Peter (50m 55s): Well, wait, first of all, you asking me, I'm not an old guy. Car was a 19 staff and the American motors corporation, green grim.


Jesse (51m 9s): There's a cottage industry. Now of guys collecting those cars, the gremlins.


Peter (51m 13s): Yeah. Mine fell apart. At some point I got, but I got a good, I don't know, eight years out of it, or seven years out of it, something like that seven years, I guess I got out. So it works.


Jesse (51m 24s): Peter. I really will have to have you back on. I really appreciate the, the conversation today for, for any listeners, aside from the website and the Lindemann letter. Is there any other place that you would kind of point them to online?


Peter (51m 37s): That would be the main place go to Lindemann and associates. You've got links to all the stuff we do there, including our charity, our education charity in Kenya, which is a big part of my wife's denies life. And I take a look at that. It's pretty amazing what these kids do. It's hard. It lifts your spirits and keeps you positive. But yeah, that was just going to lend them and associates you'll you'll find us and feel free to get in touch. Thank you.


Jesse (52m 6s): My guest today has been Peter Lindemann, Peter, thanks for being part of working capital.


Peter (52m 9s): My pleasure.


Jesse (52m 18s): Thank you so much for listening to working capital the real estate podcast. I'm your host, Jesse for galley. If you liked the episode, head on to iTunes and leave us a five star review and share on social media, it really helps us out. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, Jesse for galley, F R a G a L E, have a good one. Take care.