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Highlights from Joe Sitt and Andrew Heiberger at Bisnow's NY State of the Market

New York

From Joe Sitt’s next play to running a successful real estate family business, yesterday’s NY State of the Market event featured a whole lot of insights, five panels and two keynote interview panels. Here are three takeaways from the keynotes. 

Moderated by Arent Fox’ Mark Fawer, Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt and TOWN Residential CEO Andrew Heiberger sat down to discuss the state of the market. Pictured: Some of the biggest players in the country packed the house at our star-studded 6th Annual Bisnow NY State of the Market event at Times Square’s Conde Nast building.


1) Foreign investors are driving the market. But there’s more to it than the Asians. (Hint: Miami could be healthier than New York.)

“The Asian investment market is grabbing all the headlines,” Andrew says. “But the Brazilians have been powering Miami for the last five years.” 

2) A popular way foreign investors spend their EB-5 money. (And the amended EB-5 won’t change that.)

EB-5’s become a darling source of capital for developers, raising billions in funds from (mainly) Chinese investors. But what’s a popular thing foreigners do with the money they have to spend here? “Buying apartments for their children,” Andrew said. Even if the EB-5 minimum is raised—to $800k from $500k, he suspects—volume and activity will be business as usual.  

3) Thor’s Joe Sitt is bullish on tech. Big time.

From pooling funds for his first deal to crushing it in retail, Joe’s been an innovator from day one. What’s catching his eye today?

“From residential to retail, I’m very, very bullish on the tech sector,” Joe said. Tech juggernauts (think Uber and Snapchat) are bringing big bucks to the economy, creating a snowball effect, he said. “From an economic point of view, it’s an exciting time, in spite of the turbulence in the stock markets.”


In our second keynote, moderated by Carl Schwartz, Taconic Investment Partners co-CEO Paul Pariser and president/CIO of L&L Holding Co Robert Lapidus shared insights on running a family business and why investors still love the gateways.

1) Building a real estate family dynasty (without spoiling the kids).

The Trumps and Peebles have figured it out. But not everyone knows how to keep it in the family. “It’s a completely different layer of complications and issues,” Robert said. Both he and business partner David Levinson have kids in the industry. “We don’t want them to be entitled just because they have a last name.” 

2) Gateway cities remain top choices for foreign spenders.

Despite lower yields in big markets—and higher short-term returns in secondary markets—investors are fixated on gateway city real estate like NYC, S.F. and LA. “No one says to me, 'I want to go to Cleveland,’” Paul said. “We can’t ignore these trends.”

3) Capitalizing on market conditions (and deals).

The market’s on fire and interest rates are low. With that comes opportunity—and lots of it, Paul said. So how do you capitalize? Think long-term, he said. Not just two to three years down the road, where you might lose out on big gains. “It’s just not a good place to be.”