Sam Zell Sees Big Real Estate Opportunities On The Horizon

(Business Insider) Billionaire investor Sam Zell told CNBC on Wednesday that he expects there to be "significant" investment opportunities in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of next year.

The pandemic has led to low transaction levels, but as activity picks up it will be easier to identify potential investments, the investor famous for buying distressed assets said.  

"We are for sure active although it's really too early for what I would call the normal clearing  process, and that clearing process usually leads to opportunities," Zell said. 

The founder of Equity Group Investments said that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down and deferred decision making, and that "everybody is still a little bit shaken."

One industry containing this uncertainty is retail. Zell said he used to be one of the largest retail owners in the US, but called the industry a "falling knife" that hasn't reached its bottom yet. The industry hasn't fully felt the impacts of ecommerce yet, and Zell is hesitant to invest in it right away. 

When CNBC asked him if he has considered the trade that retail debt will go into default, he said: "I don't think in terms of trades, I think in terms of would I buy a retail portfolio today? Maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow."


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