Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tracking CRE Economic Trends With One Click

Well, maybe not one but pretty close to it. The best indicator tracking site I’ve seen on the web is at Calculated RISK. This blog tracks economic indices of all types including jobs, markets, home starts and sales, construction activity, imports exports, office vacancy rates, architectural billings, miles driven and a host of others. Historical information on each is presented in a chart with accompanying summary comments. The blog also contains an extensive list of links to other economic information and opinion sources.

Why is tracking this data important to you right now? If you have CRE in your responsibility portfolio then you are charged with understanding market conditions and trends, and how they may affect your organization from strategic, tactical and capital perspectives.

Now more than at most times staying abreast of the financial environment is critical. Here are a few current articles from other sources that should be of interest as well.

Commercial Property Faces Crisis (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Office Vacancies Hit 15.2% - and Rising (Wall Street Journal)

Defaults Rise as Worst Is Yet to Come for Commercial Property (Bloomberg)

Soros Says Commercial Property Values Will Fall 30 Percent (Bloomberg)

Manhattan Office Market Vacancies Could Rival 90’s (Reuters)

What is the point of all these links to depressing news, you ask? Not to depress you but to make sure you are staying informed. It is too easy and too tempting to stick our heads in the ground when times are tough. That’s not what you’re getting paid to do. Get your head “up and locked” and be aware of what’s going on around you. You won’t be able to recognize risks and opportunities if you’re not looking.

Besides, it won’t always be bad news. You won’t want to miss the party when all the trend lines start heading back up.

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