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Monday, January 7, 2008

Commercial Real Estate Starting to Sag

Items of interest:

commercial real estate trendsReggie Middleton / Boom Bust blog:
The Commercial Real Estate Crash Cometh -- A couple of weeks ago I informed BoomBustBlog.com readers that I was working on a big project concerning commercial real estate short candidates. I stated last year that I was sure CRE was headed down, hard. Well, I am now ready to start releasing the results of my research over the next week or so. Unfortunately, the market has moved against the subject of my research fiercely as I was completing it, but it appears to be far from over. [...]

Seeking Alpha:
Housing Market Tracker - Commercial Real Estate Review -- “In hindsight, everybody should have been more cautious. We all knew this wasn’t going to last, but we hoped it would end with a whimper, not a bang.”- Robert Bach, the chief economist at Grubb & Ellis, the national real estate brokerage firm, about the commercial real estate market. (NY Times, Jan. 6th) [...]
Wall Street Journal:
Office Vacancy Rate Rises For First Time in 4 Years -- For the first time in four years, the national vacancy rate for office buildings rose in the fourth quarter, as an unusually large amount of new space came on the market and tenants shied way from signing new leases. Demand for commercial buildings has begun to slow and vacancy rates to climb in several markets, such as Orange County, Calif., and Las Vegas, that have been particularly hard hit by the nation's housing slump and turmoil in the residential mortgage market. Coupled with last week's disappointing employment report, the weak office-market figures are another signal the nation's economy is weakening ...
Thomas Palley / AsiaTimes.com
Subprime disease a traded infection -- In recent months, the US subprime mortgage crisis has been rippling outward affecting other countries. British banks have made large loan-loss provisions and there has been a run on the Northern Rock bank. German lenders have incurred similar losses and Germany has suffered two large bank failures. European banks have also become leery about lending to each other, forcing the European Central Bank to infuse emergency liquidity. Now, Japan’s banks are feeling the heat.

These global spillovers have their origin in the huge US trade deficits of the past several years. Those deficits played a critical role generating the distorted interest rate environment that created the subprime bubble, and they also explain how subprime loans have wound up in Tokyo portfolios. [...]
AP / CBS News:
Word Of The Year: "Subprime" -- Even the American Dialect Society knows how risky home mortgages are these days.

The group of wordsmiths chose "subprime" as 2007's Word of the Year at its annual convention Friday.

"'Subprime' has been around with bankers for awhile, but now everyone is talking about 'subprime,'" said Wayne Glowka, a spokesman for the group and a dean at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. "It's affecting all kinds of people in all kinds of places."

About 80 members of the organization spent two days debating the merits of runners-up "Facebook," "green," "Googleganger" and "waterboarding" before voting for an adjective that means "a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage or investment."

The choice signifies the public's concern for a "deepening mortgage crisis," the society said in a statement. [...]

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia