AgentMarkets & Economy

Commercial market to infect housing?

Some see real estate crisis spreading in 2010

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The problems in the real estate sector are beginning to look like a bad flu epidemic that just keeps circling the globe and returning to infect those who have already suffered the virus. Back in 2007, subprime mortgages deflated and an ensuing credit crisis gripped the banking sector. Immediately, the residential real estate bubble collapsed and home values decimated, dropping as much as 50 percent in particularly hard-hit cities. What at first seemed to be strictly a residential real estate problem by 2008 crossed species into the commercial real estate sector. Whether one accumulated office buildings, hotels, shopping centers or apartments, the story was the same: Vacancy rates were climbing and lease rates dropping like a stone. Commercial buildings that have changed hands in the past year have done so at valuations sometimes less than half that experienced at the peak of market just two years before. However, due to such factors as long lease rates, billions of dollars...