AFIRE Podcast 2024.06: Mary Ludgin, Senior Advisor for Heitman, on Black Swans

Commercial real estate in 2024 is dominated by uncertainty. Midway through 2024, nobody is buying at prices people are willing to sell for, and banks lack any incentive to bridge the gap between asking prices and active offers. 

…not to forget the looming question that AFIRE CEO Gunnar Branson keeps coming back to:

“How much will climate change cost us?”

“Lots of firms had hoped that this was the year when we could move back in, in a big way,” says Mary Ludgin, a senior advisor and equity owner for Heitman, a global real estate investment management firm headquartered in Chicago. Now, Ludgin says, “we’re still playing the waiting game.” 

So where do we go from here? How does all this uncertainty get resolved? As one of the industry’s most insightful commentators, Ludgin provides her best insights on how the market will pan out over the rest of the year. Her most pointed guidance for investors is to weather this uncertainty by diversifying on as many fronts as possible, from property types to locations, climate change exposure, and geopolitical risk factors. 

“As somebody that’s been trying to predict the future for my 35-year career in this field,” Ludgin says, “I’ve realized that there are things you can predict. And then there are the black swans—and the only way to buttress against the black swan… is to diversify.” 



The publisher of the AFIRE Podcast is not engaged in providing tax, accounting, or legal advice through this publication. No content published in the AFIRE Podcast is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Some information included in the AFIRE Podcast has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable, though the publisher is not responsible for guaranteeing the accuracy of third-party information. The opinions expressed in the AFIRE Podcast are those of its respective contributors and sources and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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The AFIRE Podcast with Gunnar Branson is the official, multiple-award-winning podcast of AFIRE, the association for international real estate investors focused on commercial property in the United States.

Hosted by AFIRE CEO Gunnar Branson, the podcast features informative and in-depth conversations with experts across the full spectrum of real estate, investment, sustainability, economics, geopolitics, and urbanism with a focus on helping each other become Better Investors, Better Leaders, and Better Global Citizens. To learn more, visit


Benjamin van Loon, Communications Director | +1 202 312 1405

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