http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/07/10/nar-community-groups-work-together-to-ease-commercial-crisis


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Real Estate - July 10, 2009

NAR, community groups work together to ease commercial crisis

Credit curtailments bringing key markets to a halt

by Jeb Bing

Brought together by the National Association of Realtors, representatives from various commercial real estate and community organizations and associations have agreed to work together in providing policymakers with a package of principles and policy priorities to guide them in their efforts to address the current crisis in the commercial real estate credit markets.

"We are pleased that 18 organizations participated in this important commercial real estate industry meeting in order to identify commonalities and set priorities to present to policy makers and regulators to stabilize, strengthen and grow this important sector," said NAR President Charles McMillan, broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth.

"The commercial real estate market represents a significant element of the nation's economic infrastructure," he said. "Yet, over the last year the broader financial credit crisis has severely curtailed commercial real estate lending activity and brought securitization markets to a halt. Providing liquidity and facilitating lending is essential to restore confidence and stability to the industry as a whole."

"Neighborhoods are built around businesses, large retail centers, office buildings and small family-run shops," he added. "The health and vitality of commercial real estate supports a strong housing market, which in turn plays a key role in the national economy. We are all connected."

Bob Toothaker, chair of NAR's Realtor Commercial Alliance and host of the meeting, said, "We face a liquidity crisis, the likes of which most of us have not seen in our lifetime. There is not one silver bullet to fix the huge problem, but we believe there are key steps that can be and should be taken to ensure the continued health and vitality of the commercial real estate industry."

"NAR, large brokers and allied commercial real estate partners stand ready to work with Congress, regulators and the administration to confront this crisis," Toothaker said. "We are prepared to tell our stories and share our ideas and solutions,"

Toothaker emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to the current crisis in the commercial credit markets.

"As a group we strongly support the development of programs and initiatives that will provide liquidity and facilitate lending in the commercial real estate finance markets," he said. "We all agreed to work together to educate policymakers and provide solutions that address these priority issues, which will have the greatest impact on credit availability, liquidity and investor confidence."

"We applaud efforts to improve programs, such as the expansion of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility program and the new issue of Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, as well as the creation of the Public Private Investment Program to promote new lending," he continued.

NAR, along with many in the new coalition meeting, said it believes the success of programs and initiatives aimed at restoring liquidity and stability to the markets is intrinsically tied to and must work in conjunction with supportive federal tax policies and accounting principles that support commercial real estate lending.

According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, commercial real estate is the hardest hit industry outside of the auto industry.

"A recovery in commercial real estate always lags a general economic recovery, but with the right policy prescriptions we can recover more quickly," said Yun.

The 18 organizations include the Building Managers and Owners Association, CB Richard Ellis, CCIM Institute, Coldwell Banker Commercial, Colliers International, Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, Grubb & Ellis, Institute of Real Estate Management, International Council of Shopping Centers, Mortgage Bankers Association, NAI Global, NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trust, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, TCN Worldwide, The Real Estate Roundtable, and Transwestern.

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