The Investment Scientist

Archive for May 2023

I must admit that I used to have a very weak immune system. Every year during flu season, I usually caught the flu twice. While others would get well within a week, my flu symptoms lasted for weeks. The worst part was the endless coughing, all day and night. Not only could I not get good sleep, I also coughed so much that my ribcage hurt. I couldn’t have imagined that I could cure all of that simply by taking cold showers.

I started doing that the year before the Pandemic. Throughout the subsequent two years, while Covid raged through the world, I had to travel frequently between Europe and America since my kids live in Germany. I saw my friends fall ill with Covid one by one, and then all my immediate family fell ill, not once but twice. All throughout that frightening time, I never got sick from Covid, or the cold, or the flu. I have to give the credit to cold showers.

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Today I had a conversation with a friend of mine who recently participated in a conference with the mayor of Washington, DC regarding the dire state of the office rental market. The bottom line is that people love working from home, they are not coming back to the office after the Pandemic as initially expected. This means that companies and even government branches are not renewing their office space leases. The ones that do need a much smaller footprint. Developers are considering converting office spaces into residential homes, but that’s easier said than done since office buildings are constructed differently. 

On top of that, most real estate companies use debt financing and since last year, the financing cost has skyrocketed, thanks to the Fed. They are really caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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