Loath of Office: First, the good news: There are real estate investors roaming the county with a couple of hundred million dollars to spend.
Now, the bad: They're only interested in building houses and apartments. Maybe a shopping center or two. They couldn't be less interested in the county's overbuilt office market.
That's the word from the Newport Beach office of Kenneth Leventhal & Co., a Los Angeles accounting firm that specializes in real estate.
Who are these investors? Mostly wealthy individuals, pension fund advisers and real estate investment trusts, the firm says.
Housing interests these well-financed investors because the housing market in the county seems to have bottomed out and may be climbing again. And housing promises a quick return on their investments.
There is still some demand for shopping centers in parts of the county, which also attracts investors, according to the accounting firm.
The investors can just about make their own terms with developers because the banks and savings and loans have all but stopped making loans to developers.
The Japanese, out of the market for the past year or so, are starting to invest in the county again, says Stephen Duffy, one of the firm's managing directors.