Signs of Weakness in Commercial Real Estate

When it rains, it pours, or as they say in finance-land, in a crisis all correlations move to 1.

Fitch has been warning for a while that commercial real estate lending had exhibited many of the frothy lending practices that plagued subprime (overly optimistic projections, no cash down, terms that were viable only if the property were refinanced in a couple of years. And of course, the ultimate sign of a market top was Sam Zell selling his commercial REIT, Office Equities Trust, at a record low capitalization rate (low cap rates mean high prices).

We are now starting to see deterioration in the commercial real estate market. Michael Shedlock provided this chart from the MIT Center for Real Estate of its transactions-based index for commercial real estate:

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