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PhillyDeals: Has big real estate finally hit rock bottom?

Joseph N. DiStefano Philly News
PhillyDeals: Has big real estate finally hit rock bottom? - Housing Crisis - United States - Financial/Loan

John Cannon has been financing big real estate loans for $25 billion-asset Capmark Finance Inc. of Horsham and its predecessors since 1985, and he's never seen business this slow.

"There's nothing being bought and sold," Cannon told me by phone from the vast Virginia headquarters of government-controlled home lender Freddie Mac, one of the few outfits still pumping millions into buildings.

Capmark financed $1.5 billion in apartment deals during the first half of the year, down by half since early 2008. Almost all this year's lending was refinancing loans, funded by Freddie and Fannie Mae, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"They're the only viable lenders in U.S. commercial real estate right now," and all they do is residential real estate, not offices or industry, Cannon said.

He's seen slow markets before. The early 1990s, when the savings banks failed. But that "was a supply issue. You saw a lot of empty buildings. Now it's a liquidity issue." Banks aren't lending.


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