Publications

- December 2009: Vol. 21 No. 11

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A Year in Review: Investors Wait for the Dust to Settle in 2009

by Rachel Speirs

After a large earthquake there’s a span of time when everyone waits for the dust to settle. The survivors of such an event use the time in different ways. Some hunker down and worry about aftershocks; some will step back from the wreckage and begin to assess damages; some will wade through the rubble to see what can be salvaged. That was a little bit like the year real estate investors experienced in 2009.

In January, The New York Times declared, “This year will be among the worst for the U.S. commercial real estate industry.” It has indeed been bad: Property values have crumbled, credit has evaporated and the economic recession that came on the heels of the subprime mortgage market collapse and ensuing financial crisis has made future property fundamentals — and the prospect for quick recovery — look grim.

There was, of course, some upside during the year, too. Public equity swooped in to revitalize cash-strapped REITs, pushing inve

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