Why Commercial Real Estate Investments Should Be Part of Every High-Net-Worth Individual’s Portfolio

Marshall Clark

Marshall Clark

President - Capstacked
Former Founding VP of Marketing at Crowdstreet
Former Founding VP of Marketing at Cadre

For high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), the investment landscape offers a broad range of options ranging from stocks and bonds to exotic alternatives. Yet, amidst this diverse spectrum, commercial real estate (CRE) is a vital component of a well-rounded investment portfolio. This article delves into the reasons why CRE investments are not just a choice but a necessity for HNWIs seeking sustainable growth, risk management, portfolio diversification, and, most importantly, an imminent generational opportunity to buy CRE assets at a substantial discount to replacement value.

1. Tangible Asset with Intrinsic Value

Unlike stocks or bonds, commercial real estate is a tangible asset, offering intrinsic value that doesn’t vanish even in volatile market conditions. Properties such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, and multifamily units have a physical presence and utility that provide a baseline value. For HNWIs, this tangibility ensures a more controlled and stable investment, with real assets often appreciating over time, thus offering a hedge against inflation.

2. Diversification and Risk Management

One of the cardinal rules of investing is diversification – spreading investments across different asset classes to mitigate risk. CRE investments offer unique diversification benefits. As real estate markets often move independently of stock and bond markets, including CRE in a portfolio can reduce volatility and improve returns over the long term. This aspect of real estate investment is particularly crucial for HNWIs, who must safeguard their wealth against market downturns and economic uncertainties.

3. Steady Income Stream

Commercial real estate investments can provide a steady stream of income through rental yields. This aspect is particularly attractive in the context of private real estate, where leasing arrangements with businesses offer a regular and often inflation-indexed source of income. For HNWIs, this means a consistent cash flow, which is a valuable component of wealth management and growth strategy.

4. Tax Benefits

Investing in commercial real estate comes with significant tax advantages. HNWIs can benefit from various deductions, including depreciation, mortgage interest, and operating expenses, all of which can substantially lower taxable income. Furthermore, certain real estate investments allow for tax-deferred growth, such as 1031 exchanges, which enable investors to defer capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds from a real estate sale into another property.

5. Asset Appreciation and Value Addition

Over time, commercial real estate tends to appreciate in value. This appreciation is driven by factors such as development, inflation, and improvements to the property or its surroundings. Moreover, CRE offers opportunities for value addition – through renovations, rebranding, or changing the property’s management – which can significantly increase its market value and rental income. For HNWIs, this not only means capital growth but also the opportunity to actively enhance the asset’s value.

6. Leverage for Wealth Amplification

Real estate investments allow for leverage – the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment. HNWIs can use leverage to acquire properties of significantly higher value than their initial investment. This strategy, when used judiciously, can amplify wealth, as the gains from real estate appreciation are calculated on the total asset value, not just the equity portion.

7. Portfolio Balancing in Economic Cycles

Commercial real estate often behaves differently across economic cycles compared to other asset classes. While stocks may plummet during a recession, well-chosen real estate assets can offer resilience, with some sectors like multifamily housing or certain industrial properties even thriving in downturns. For HNWIs, this characteristic of CRE can balance out portfolio performance across economic cycles, providing stability and growth.

8. Generational Opportunities in the Current Cyclic CRE Downturn

A significant reason why commercial real estate should be a mainstay in the portfolio of high-net-worth individuals is the generational opportunities presented by the current cyclic CRE downturn. Economic cycles invariably impact real estate markets, and downturns, while challenging, can offer exceptionally discounted opportunistic buying opportunities. During these periods, properties can be acquired at prices significantly lower than their intrinsic value. For HNWIs, this downturn presents a strategic entry point into high-value investments. Properties that were previously overvalued or inaccessible due to high competition become available at reduced prices. This is particularly relevant for opportunistic real estate investments, which involve acquiring assets that require significant improvement, repositioning, or development. These assets, often overlooked during market highs, can be transformed and later sold or leased at a substantial profit as the market recovers. Furthermore, downturns often lead to reduced construction and development activities, resulting in a supply contraction. For long-term investors, this can be advantageous. As the market recovers, a limited supply of new developments can lead to increased demand for existing properties, thereby enhancing their value. It’s crucial for investors, especially HNWIs, to recognize that real estate is cyclical by nature. Periods of downturn are not just challenges; they are windows of opportunity. By leveraging their capital and market insights, HNWIs can capitalize on these cycles, acquiring premium assets at lower costs and positioning their portfolios for substantial growth as the market rebounds. In short, the current cyclic CRE downturn is not a signal to retreat but an invitation for astute investors to seize generational opportunities. By strategically investing in undervalued assets during these periods, HNWIs can significantly enhance their portfolio’s potential for high returns and substantial growth, setting the stage for long-term wealth accumulation and security.

Commercial Real Estate is a growing component of the post-modern portfolio

Incorporating commercial real estate (CRE) into the investment portfolios of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) is not merely a strategic choice; it’s an essential diversification and growth mechanism. The unique blend of tangible asset value, steady income, tax benefits, appreciation potential, leverage opportunities, economic cycle resilience, and especially the generational opportunities presented by the current cyclic CRE downturn, collectively make CRE a compelling and indispensable investment avenue.
  • Tangible Asset with Intrinsic Value: CRE offers stability and a hedge against inflation, grounding a portfolio in the real economy.
  • Diversification and Risk Management: CRE moves independently of stocks and bonds, providing a cushion against market volatility.
  • Steady Income Stream: Rental yields from CRE offer HNWIs a consistent and inflation-indexed source of income.
  • Tax Benefits: Deductions and tax-deferred growth opportunities in CRE significantly improve net investment returns.
  • Asset Appreciation and Value Addition: The potential for CRE assets to appreciate and be enhanced through value-add improvements adds a growth dimension to portfolios.
  • Leverage for Wealth Amplification: CRE allows for the use of leverage, amplifying potential returns on investment.
  • Portfolio Balancing in Economic Cycles: CRE’s performance across economic cycles can stabilize and grow a portfolio even during downturns.
  • Generational Opportunities in Current CRE Downturn: The current market downturn presents HNWIs with rare, discounted buying opportunities, allowing for strategic entry into high-value investments.
These factors, combined, establish commercial real estate as a cornerstone for wealth preservation and appreciation for HNWIs. In navigating this complex yet rewarding asset class, due diligence, market acumen, and professional guidance are key. With these elements in place, CRE offers a pathway not just for risk-adjusted returns, but for generational wealth building and portfolio resilience.
Marshall Clark

Marshall Clark

Founder + President of Capstacked
Former Founding VP of Marketing at Crowdstreet
Former Founding VP of Marketing at Cadre