Michael Stoler, The Stoler Report, Madison Realty Capital
NEW YORK- When real estate is at a low, it's a good time to get together, donate some money, and celebrate. That's what the 4th Annual Celebration of Real Estate Professionals in NYC was all about in Soho on Wednesday evening. More than 200 real estate professionals attended the event hosted by the New Circle Group at the SICIS Art Factory. The function was a fund raiser for hospital equipment in Israel's Rabin Medical Centre. Although times are tough, there was plenty of philanthropy in the air.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Professor Gabriela Shalev, opened the evening, encouraging people to support each other in the current economic crisis.
"We don't speak about difficulties, but about challenges," she said.
Keynote speakers focused their talks on looking for opportunities in the distressed economy. Michael Stoler, host and executive producer of The Stoler Report said that in 1990 and 1991 when the market hit a slump, people bought property on Wall Street for $5 a square foot. His prognosis for this cycle is for a long recovery, but ample opportunity-but don't touch hotels.
"We're in a baseball game and we're now in the first game. We're in a triple-header and we're in the first innings of the triple header. So it's only going to get worse," he said.
Eli Tene of Bridgelock Capital and iShortSale.com in Los Angeles agreed. "Some people are saying it can't get much worse. I think it will ...[but] There are tons of opportunities," he said.
Tene said that in California, many homeowners have lost 70-80 percent of their home values. Between 1991 and 1997 his company did 1,000 short sales. After 20 years in the business he warned people not to compromise their values; doing so would bring trouble.
"One of the very early lessons we learned was that you need to find your values and stick to it ... In times of distress and stress, it's easy to lose sight of your values. So I think the most important thing is, don't let them down. Don't let greediness come and overtake the real purpose of what you are supposed to do."
A timely reminder to learn the lessons from mistakes that have been repeated too many times. He encouraged the crowd to look for opportunities to help people, and to be flexible. "Care for knowledge, integrity, caring for the customers, be creative, come with a vision."
His words seemed to appeal to the many young people at the event-professionals in the real estate industry at the beginning of their careers.
The final amount raised for the evening, including equipment donations, was close to $20,000-a success for the new emergency trauma center near Tel Aviv.
The new Mair Laiser Information Center was founded in April 2009 at the Davidoff Cancer Center at Rabin Medical Center, thanks to a donation by the Laiser family.
Rabin Medical Center proudly inaugurated their new Pulmonary Institute-the largest and most advanced in Israel.