- January 1, 2021: Vol. 8, Number 1

Roundtable: What do you expect in 2021?

by contributing executives

Chad LaFauci, vice president, alternative investments, Commonwealth Financial Network

Unmatched global stimulus measures, a Fed committed to keeping monetary policy loose for years to come, vaccines that are (hopefully) on their way in the short-term, and a population that has been boxed up for close to a year. It feels like we are set to experience a period filled with excessive risk taking, asset class bubbles, and a myriad of imbalances.


Jonathan Morgan, president, Morgan Properties

COVID-19 accelerated many of the multifamily trends we expected to see roll out over the next five years, the most notable being the recent de-densification of urban living. With most millenials now in their 30s, we can expect them to begin to trade in the city life for more space and better school systems in the suburbs. This shift is going to continue over time, but that doesn’t mean urban living is dead; it will certainly rebound and adjust.


Michael Reisner, co-CEO, CION Investment Group

After a successful vaccine roll-out, with housing booming, the personal savings rate soaring, more stimulus incoming and labor force participation growing, I expect a post- World War II-type jubilation, as pent-up demand leads people on a spending frenzy — to traveling again (book your trip to Europe now!), eating-out, going to movies, gyms and shopping in malls. After a torrent of demand is released, normalcy will return, and by late 2021, this jubilation will slowly wane and be replaced by the realization the forward-looking equity markets may have got ahead of themselves. The dispersion between haves and have-nots, coupled with the specter of higher taxes, lower levels of monetary stimulus, and increased regulation, will temper equity enthusiasm. This, combined with continued low interest rates, will further pressure financial advisers to continue to diversify their clients’ portfolios and investments away from no-to-low-yield traditional assets and toward safe and durable alternatives providing income. Oh, and I expect the Yankees to win the World Series in 2021.


Chris Milner, head of real estate investment management, Cantor Fitzgerald

A mirror image of 2020. The new year will start with the most severe consequences of COVID-19 followed by slow but meaningful progress as the population is vaccinated. While the human toll has been tragic, we are increasingly optimistic that long-term prospects are positive. The impressive speed with which the life sciences industry has produced an effective vaccine and the technologies that have allowed many businesses and individuals to operate remotely will have a profound effect on productivity and real estate. In this macroeconomic context, we believe investment selection and portfolio construction will be paramount, and alternative investment strategies will take on increased utilization.


Justin Wybenga, vice president of asset services, GMH Capital Partners

The student housing industry hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years. The academic calendar has been the same and putting heads in beds has remained the main goal. This past year shook things up, making flexibility and resilience the keys to succeeding as a result of COVID-19. As we head into 2021, industry leaders who have learned to adapt and become innovative thinkers will pave the way for the development and implementation of new, sustainable practices and procedures that better serve their residents and apartment communities.


Charles Wheeler, CIO and co-CEO, Greenbacker Capital

We are confident that 2021 will be a great year for renewables with an increasing capacity to harness these natural resources as energy. With a new administration focused on mitigating climate change, we’re looking forward to more renewable portfolio standards and goals for states and private corporations, opening the door to expand clean energy infrastructure. Renewable energy experienced stellar growth in 2020, capturing headlines as an energy source that was virtually unaffected by a global pandemic. We see an even brighter year ahead.


Paula Miterko, founder and president, Miterko & Associates

Our motto is “review, reassess, report, recommend,” and it has never seemed more apropos than now. The COVID environment provides both investment challenges and opportunities. The stock market rebound has been more emotional than fundamental, unemployment rates understated and performance in several real estate sectors may suffer when eviction moratoriums are lifted. New investment strategies and structures emerged, requiring us to rethink how we assess due diligence risks, particularly pricing, economic assumptions and valuations. Many firms, like my own, have refocused on infrastructure, monitoring, and developing value-add services. Helping clients position themselves to capture growth will be important, as 2021 is expected to be another bumpy year.


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