By the time you get this, I should be in Manhattan headed to my hotel on the Upper East Side.
I will be looking forward to an evening at the bar in a steakhouse around the corner with a ribeye, a nice rye whiskey, and the Yankees-Tiger game on TV while monitoring the Orioles on the MLB app on my phone.
I have minimal hopes of ending the evening with an Orioles victory, but a Manhattan bar, steak, and whiskey with baseball on the TV are a delightful combination that I have not enjoyed in some time.
That is not the primary reason for going to the Big Apple, but it is a nice perk.
The New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate puts on a REIT symposium every year, and I am going to attend this year.
It is an incredibly useful and informative event with speakers from the industry talking about trends and opportunities in the market today.
Recognizing and capitalizing on these market movements can make anyone a new fortune with the best REITs.
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I will hear from cell tower REITs about the 5G possibilities, and life science REIT CEOs will talk about how the power of biotechnology and medical breakthroughs will drive their valuations higher over time.
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We will also discuss retail real estate, hotels, offices, multifamily housing, and everything else real estate.
Given my deep and abiding love for investing in real estate, it will be better than heading to the movies for the day.
It is not just the REIT CEOs who will be speaking.
Also there will be the analysts and investment bankers that cover real estate for the major firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC).
All in all, it's a REIT dream team with an opportunity to learn more about all aspects of the industry.
And a particular lunch speaker has caught my eye: the legendary grave dancer himself, Sam Zell.
In addition to being a wildly successful real estate investor, Mr. Zell is an interesting personality, well known for being very outspoken and far less than politically correct.
It's not quite as exciting for me as a lunch with Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer would be, but it's close.
Mr. Zell is still very active in the REIT industry, and one of his REITs is an intriguing idea right now.
Zell is the Chairman of Equity Commonwealth (NYSE: EQC), an office REIT that he and some activist investors took over back in 2014.
His management team has spent the last five years selling what they consider to be non-core properties.
They have used the cash to pay down debt and redeem preferred shares.
Right now, they are currently sitting on $2.7 billion in cash with very little debt and patiently waiting for a downturn in the market or mispriced opportunities that allow them to put the cash to work on terms that pretty much guarantee spectacular profits for patient investors.
Equity Commonwealth does not pay a dividend right now.
However, as they deploy, the cash tax laws will eventually mandate the reinstatement of regular payouts, and when that happens the share should soar on the announcement.
For now, they are buying back stocks and just announced another $150 million buyback after repurchasing 2,970,209 shares in 2018.
Patient investors may well wake up one day to realize that owning Commonwealth Equity has been the best investment of their lifetime.
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About the Author
Tim Melvin is an unlikely investment expert by any measure. Raised in the "projects" of Baltimore by a single mother, he never attended college and started out as a door-to-door vacuum salesman. But he knew the real money was in the stock market, so he set sights on investing - and by sheer force of determination, he eventually became a financial advisor to millionaires. Today, after 30 years of managing money for some of the wealthiest people in the world, he draws on his experience to help investors find "unreasonably good" bargain stocks, multiply profits, and build their nest eggs. Tim tirelessly works to find overlooked "hidden gems" in the stock market, drawing on the research of legendary investors like Benjamin Graham, Walter Schloss, and Marty Whitman. He has written and lectured extensively on the markets, with work appearing on Benzinga, Real Money, Daily Speculations, and more. He has published several books in the "Little Book of" Investment Series and a "Junior Chamber Course" geared towards young adults that teaches Graham's principles and techniques to a new generation of investors. Today, he serves as the Special Situations Strategist at Money Morning and the editor of "Max Wealth" and Heatseekers.