Posts Tagged ‘commercial real estate crash’

U.S. Real Estate Market Still Looks Weak

January 26th, 2010 Comments off

The global economic and financial crisis was unleashed when the American real estate bubble, especially in connection with sub-prime housing mortgages, burst. Among several factors that facilitated this disaster, one of the prime ones was the loose  monetary policies of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. While speculation continues on the probability that the Senate will/will not reconfirm Bernanke for a second term as Fed chairman, the same level of monetary indiscipline is still in practice at the Federal Reserve, complemented by the easy fiscal polices of the Obama administration as well as Timothy Geithner`s Treasury Department. Meanwhile, signs that the real estate market in the USA remains very weak continue.

A report on existing home sales has just been released, indicating that in December there was a decline of 16.7%. Sales rose in the previous three months, but that was only due to significant tax credits, courtesy of the  taxpayers of tomorrow, who will be burdened with staggering levels of national debt. Using borrowed money to fund short-term gimmicks cannot provide a cure for long-term structural imbalances in the U.S. economy.

Another jolt points further at commercial real estate’s accelerating descent in valuations and rising rates of foreclosure. In 2006, Tishman Speyer, a major CRE investment firm located in New York City, put together a deal with a consortium, purchasing Manhattan’s giant Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complexes from Metropolitan Life for $5.4 billion, the largest real estate deal at the time of its consummation. Over the weekend, Tishman Speyer went into default on the property, handing it over to its creditors. The number of investment interests that have lost money on this deal ranges far and wide, not only in the United States but across the globe. Among the losers is the Church of England, which has just seen £40million go down the proverbial  rat hole. In October, the Fitch ratings agency valued Tishman Speyer’s original $5.4 billion property as having a current value of a mere  $1.8 billion. This represents a loss of  two thirds in valuation in less than four years, a metaphor I should say for the entire U.S. residential and now commercial real estate casino marketplace.