Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Housing: A Battle for Equity Properties

Many analysts and economic experts have speculated on the disastrous ending that could occur to the housing market, after several years of record setting prices and sales. I am here to endorse the housing market, primarily commercial developments and office space investments. The strength of the market can be seen in the recent bidding war for Equity Office Properties, between Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) and Blackstone. In the recent article "The Price is REIT" on The Wall Street Journal Online, discusses the eventual outcome between these two companies. The two companies put in several offers that include various amounts of cash; the ultimate winner was Blackstone paying an enormous $22.9 billion for one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT). The housing market is obviously not losing too much steam, if a company is willing to pay such a premium to acquire commercial property. Furthermore, David Gaffen discusses the impact for both of these companies, though the price of the shares of the stock reflects the investor's opinions. Over the course of the bidding war,the Vornado stock price was around $120 a share sometimes falling into the upper $110s. Many investors and analysts felt that in order for Vornado to win the war they would have to pay about $59.50 a share, while Blackstone offered $55.50. Once Vornado never made a final bid and rescinded its intent to purchase the company - the stock rose roughly 5%. Obviously, many investors felt it was a great decision to not purchase Equity Office Properties, largely due to the fact that VNO would assume a huge amount of debt. In addition, Gaffen mentions that "the valuation looks toppy by almost any measure — an impression that Vornado's withdrawal further reinforces." So, some analysts felt that Equity Office Properties is being overvalued and VNO acknowledge this by withdrawing its bid. Lastly, the housing market has been strong and though has declined in its yearly increase still is a very safe investment since real estate prices are always climbing and office space is always in demand.

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