Steve Saretsky knows real estate. From analyzing trends, to buying and selling, to crafting plans for successful development, he truly enjoys the process and all its parts.
Saretsky operates chiefly in Vancouver, BC, where the market has been increasingly strong for the past several years.
He buys and sells for individuals, performs housing analysis, and does consulting work for hedge fund managers and developers seeking to plot the course for their future investments. He even throws in a few speaking engagements for good measure.
“Overall, I’m just very passionate about real estate and finance,” he says.
Staying Active in Real Estate
In addition to serving clients, Saretsky also invests for himself. He has bought individual properties to let, and stays active in real estate investment trusts
“Right now, I’m just eyeing opportunities, as there are a lot of moving pieces in the industry at this point,” he says. “I’m just kind of surveying the land.”
Many of his investments are in the real estate arena, because it’s a field with which he is very familiar.
“I wouldn’t say I don’t invest in other things,” Saretsky says. “I certainly do, because diversification is important. But ultimately, investing in what you know and are most comfortable with takes precedence over other avenues.”
He says today’s market is ruled by fiat currencies and low negative investment rates, and central banks are continuing to cut rates.
“What’s going to preserve wealth in the long run, is having physical assets, and real estate is certainly one of them,” he says.
Vancouver’s Global Appeal
For someone who loves the real estate game, Vancouver is a prime spot from which to operate.
“It’s a global city,” Saretsky says. “I think that generally speaking it’s been a store of value or store of wealth. I don’t think it’s exempt from significant market corrections. But over time, certainly over the last 20 to 30 years, it has proven to be a good investment.”
One of the challenges that comes along with this growth and desirability is that many beginning investors or those without much on the balance sheet find themselves priced out of the market.
“It is certainly unaffordable,” he says. “You are more dependent on a continuation of capital flows into Vancouver. We’re starting to see more and more protectionism and nationalism, and more resentment of a populist move towards anti-immigration that clouds the outlook to some degree.”
Because the rise in prices over the past several years is not sustainable, he anticipates that there may be a bump coming in the market.
Watch for Decline in Prices
“In the next one to two years, there will be more volatility,” Saretsky says. “I think there’s a strong probability that there’s going to be a decline in prices, in my opinion.”
Still, he anticipates that property in Vancouver will always be desirable and relatively expensive.
For those who do not have large sums of cash at their disposal or the credentials to borrow enough for traditional investment entry fees, there is IMBY, a system that allows investors to wade into the investment pool for as little as one dollar.
“If people want exposure to Vancouver real estate and can’t attain it through traditional measures, it’s definitely an option I would look at,” Saretsky says. “It’s definitely an option worth looking further into. Like any investment there are always pros and cons, and investors should do their own due diligence, just as I am still learning about this investment myself,” says Saretsky.
He refers to the system as the tokenization of real estate, in which buyers are able to own a piece of an investment property without having to own the whole thing.
“It’s good in theory because you get some exposure to Vancouver real estate,” he says. “It opens the door to people that were otherwise shut out, and it will certainly propose opportunities for people that otherwise wouldn’t have had a shot.”
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