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Zell Says Office, Housing Markets in Good Shape

CNBC.com
Friday, 23 Feb 2007 | 10:56 AM ET

Billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell, who just sold Equity Office Properties, the nation's largest office landlord, to Blackstone for $39 billion, said the office property market is still going strong.

Sam Zell Speaks, Pt. 1
Billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell sold Equity Office Properties to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion, and he's not finished dealing, with Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments Chairman and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo

Why? Full employment, strong demand for office properties and very little new construction.

"And demand continues to increase," Zell, who pocketed $1 billion from the Equity Office deal, told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. "The office market in the United States will continue to be very strong for the next 24 months."

As for the broader housing market, Zell said it's also in good shape.

"The overall market is much better than the press portrays it as," Zell said. "We have some pockets of high-end oversupply probably in Miami, maybe Vegas, maybe San Diegeo. But beyond that, I think the overall market is pretty stable."

Sam Zell Speaks, Pt. 2
Billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell sold Equity Office Properties to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion, and he's not finished dealing, with Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments Chairman and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo

What's next for Zell? He said he continues to be very interested in real estate and real estate-related operations outside of the country. "We are very involved in low-cost housing in Mexico, we've been involved in various activities in Brazil, Chile, China and Egypt," he told CNBC. "The world's changing and we think there is a lot of opportunity."

While there have been media reports that have said Zell is eyeing Tribune, owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, he declined to comment on the speculation.

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