Warren Buffett took to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual letter to reveal one of his best investments ever.
The billionaire certainly has many to choose from, but in 1993, New York real estate titan Larry Silverstein told him about a property adjacent to New York University.
The Resolution Trust Corp. was selling the place after a real estate bubble popped, and Silverstein wanted to get Buffett in on helping to buy it.
Bloomberg’s Betty Liu and Noah Buhayar report that Buffett made a $US1 million investment in the property, which now makes up a string of retail shops between 8th and 9th Avenue in Lower Manhattan.
Buffett says he has made more than $US1.5 million in special capital distributions from the property. That’s on top of the regular increasing payments, Bloomberg reports.
“The analysis was simple,” Buffett writes in his letter. “The unleveraged current yield from the property was about 10%. But the property had been undermanaged by the RTC, and its income would increase when several vacant stores were leased.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Plus: “The property’s location was also superb: NYU wasn’t going anywhere.”
Now, annual distributions exceed 35% of their original investment. Not like Buffett needs the cash, but he still cites it as a great example of how to think long-term about investing — simple, little downside, and stressing what something produces over than its daily changing valuation.
So what does Buffett think of his big real estate deal?
‘”I have yet to view the property,” he admitted in the letter.
“Considering that we both are in our 80s, he thought it appropriate to express his gratitude while he could do it, and I could hear it!” Silverstein wrote in an email to Bloomberg.