(Bloomberg) -- Allianz SE’s Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete said now is the right moment to snap up properties at bargain prices as some troubled owners are forced into selling.

“Look at the fallout of some of the real estate tycoons — they have to now sell prime assets at huge discounts,” Baete said in a phone interview Friday. “That is the time to buy, and not to sell.”

Baete comments come amid turmoil in real estate markets, especially for commercial properties such as office buildings and retail developments, as the rapid increases in interest rates mean owners face surging borrowing costs and plunging valuations. The ensuing credit crunch has compelled some to sell assets to service their debt. 

One prominent example is the Signa group of companies founded by Austrian property tycoon Rene Benko, which has become one of Europe’s biggest real estate meltdowns since the global financial crisis. Some of Signa’s choicest assets have been put on the market as insolvency administrators race to pay off creditors. 

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“If you are an investor and you have to sell at the moment, you are in trouble,” Baete said, adding that Allianz is a potential buyer. “We remain very bullish on the sector for the long run,” he said.

The Munich-based company is one of Germany’s biggest property investors. Its real estate portfolio amounted to €58 billion ($63 billion) at the end of last year, according to a presentation published Friday. About half of it is offices, and 12% is in the US.

Allianz combined its real estate arm with the real estate business of its asset manager Pimco in 2020. The move created a platform that now invests about $190 billion in real estate equity and debt on behalf of Allianz’s insurance units and outside clients.

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