By Tony Stasiek, editor
In the past few months, it seems like President Obama has much
in common with the character of Coach Taylor from NBC’s “
Friday Night Lights” — or for that matter, most any prep football
coach in the real world.
Each entered new positions with high expectations and what they believed to be a firm vision of
success. But each also soon found how unexpected, influential sources could obstruct that view.
For Taylor, they came in the form of alumni and boosters, making their case for who should
play what position and how to ensure that their beloved high school would again reach the state
championship. For Obama, they came from all sides of the country and the economy, with each
making its case for a chunk of economic relief or a plan for achieving stability.
Now the comparison only goes so far. Simply, the success of an economic policy
is not determined by a simple tally of touchdowns and field goals, wins and
losses. It’ll be measured in whether the economic ice field defrosts. And
in how liquidity returns, and where. And in how many jobs are lost and
reclaimed, and in how many Americans can afford to come home to
a home every day.
As we digest the regulatory changes of the past few months, it’s
likely important to keep these elements of the big picture in
mind. The solution for your business could come from one
economic-stimulus plan or from a variety of plans. Or from
none. There might be a tax cut here or down the road, and
there might not. Your favorite pundits will deem some
ideas good and others bad.
Will it matter? Are you in the position to know?
As we look toward spring for various reasons, it’s likely
wise to realize that neither question comes with an easy
answer — at least not in the short term. And as much
as lobbying or policy-related discourse can be entertaining
and impactful, issues beyond the control of the average commercial mortgage broker should not
be in the position to drive that broker nuts.
Illustration: Keith Negley
There’s an interesting passage in the article by Secured Private Capital’s Kurt Lefteroff on Page 36
of this month’s Scotsman Guide that goes something like this: You know the real estate market
has hit bottom when even unqualified laypeople speak freely about real estate trends. It’s kind
of a comforting thought. At the same time, it makes you think about just how much you say.
This Month on Mortgage Metrics
“[In 2008 on Scotsman Guide Loan
Post,] lenders showed decreasing interest in loan scenarios with terms
of 21 years or more and increasing interest in loan scenarios with
terms of one to five years. I believe
that two major factors are driving
this trend: 1. Lenders are becoming more conservative. … [and]
2. Hard-money lenders … increased
their market share.”
— DAN YEH, Jan. 29
Loan Post Loan Terms in 2008
Percentage of Replied Posts
1- to 5-yr. terms
21-yr. + terms
Source: Scotsman Guide Loan Post
Scotsman Guide’s Mortgage Metrics: Commercial blog presents data from our award-winning lender-search engines and Scotsman
Guide Loan Post. It’s updated each Thursday at scotsmanguide.com/COMmetrics.
In the Past Month
News from the industry and abroad
New Treasury plan covers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Commercial banks received
what has been called a potential rescue after the Obama
administration unveiled its three-pronged financial-stability plan on Feb. 10.
U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Tim Geithner
announced a public-private partnership that would
seek to finance buying toxic assets “that are burdening financial institutions.” The program could provide
$1 trillion in financing capacity.
The plan would expand the scope of the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility,
designed to thaw loan markets, and includes aid for
commercial loans and mortgage-backed securities.
Another element of the plan would require financial
institutions to undergo a comprehensive “stress test”
to determine how much aid they need.
IMF: World economies ‘to come
to a virtual halt’ this year
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International Monetary
Fund (IMF) said global economic growth would practically come to a standstill this year.
“We expect the global economy to come to a virtual
halt,” IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard said.
Global economic growth was projected to drop to
0.5 percent this year, its slowest rate in 60 years, according to revisions in the “IMF World Economic
Outlook” report released on Jan. 28.
The IMF said a “bad bank,” which would serve as a
repository for toxic assets, possibly could be used to
relieve the global credit crisis.
“We think that more decisive action is needed now by
both policymakers and market participants and with
greater emphasis on balance-sheet cleansing,” said
Jaime Caruana, IMF financial counselor.
Report: Retail absorption,
completions expected to be soft
Grubb & Ellis’ 2009 Forecast Report predicts continued softness for retail real estate.
The firm expects net absorption to end the year at -12
million square feet. Completions also are expected to
decrease to 20 million square feet.
© 2009 Penton Media and United Press International. All rights reserved.
The slowdown in development won’t be enough to keep
the vacancy rate from increasing, however. The brokerage company expects the vacancy rate to end 2009 at
9. 9 percent, up from 9.1 percent at the end of ’08.
Top insurer to quit
Florida property policies
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In late January, State Farm
Florida Insurance said it would submit a two-year plan
to allow it to back out of the property-insurance business
State law requires insurers to submit a plan for withdrawal to the Office of Insurance Regulation within 90
days and give their active customers 180-day notices for
policies they will not renew, Insurance Journal reported.
The company, the largest property-insurer in the state,
said it was pulling back from the business because of its
“substantially weakened financial position,” the company said.