Friday, May 15, 2009

Credit in deep freeze in commercial real estate

There's no sign of a thaw in the frozen credit markets. If anything, the situation is getting worse for the real estate business.

The number of new loans for commercial properties plunged 70 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Tuesday. And nationwide mortgage originations for the quarter were down 26 percent from the end of 2008.

"In the first quarter of 2009, we saw the effects of the continued recession, coupled with little demand from borrowers and a constrained supply from lenders as a result of the credit crunch," Jamie Woodwell, a Mortgage Bankers Association researcher, said in the report.

A lack of lending for commercial real estate deals has put the brakes on most new projects in the Dallas area and made it almost impossible for investors to finance purchases of offices, shopping centers, warehouses, hotels, apartments and other buildings.

Nationwide, the biggest drop in funding – 88 percent – was for hotels. Lending through mortgage-backed securities fell 96 percent from a year ago and bank loans for commercial real estate slid 80 percent, the trade group said.
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By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News