Taming a Wild Horse

Our new president has taken office at a difficult time, assuming the reins of a financial horse gone wild and to date unwilling to be tamed. Calming such a beast takes a firm and steady hand, a confident demeanor and consistent direction. Let it take the lead even briefly and you lose control. At the same time, this is a horse like none other in recent history, and training it requires an expertise nobody has. Will efforts under the new president have greater results than those tried so far? That remains to be seen, but without mastery, at least a firm and steady hand will be needed to achieve some progress.As for the expertise, members of the real estate finance industry are stepping up to offer some advice. Commercial real estate finance interests are among them, seeking to ensure that they are not forgotten as the government and markets deal with the very big residential finance problems. Commercial real estate players are providing potential options to jump-start the commercial market and prevent delinquencies and defaults from getting out of hand. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo in San Diego this month will certainly cover this more, but “Dialing for Dollars” on page 17 provides some preview.This presidency, unlike others, has begun with a stimulus plan already in place and quite a few other initiatives also expressed, some contributing to recovery efforts more directly than others. That includes big plans for energy and environmental policies—sustainability initiatives in our industry parlance (see “Presidential Policies” on page 23). But because that wild financial horse will require quite a bit of attention, other timetables may have to wait if we as a country are to turn our daily news in a more positive direction.While organized efforts to advise Washington proceed, industry experts on these and other key commercial real estate-related topics are offering thoughts and opinions on CPN’s new experts blog, From the Inside, which includes video as well as written posts. Launched in early January, the blog offers regularly scheduled insights on finance, macroeconomics, technology, business management and sustainability, along with commentary on a growing list of major cities. Visit From the Inside at www.cpnfromtheinside.com or through www.cpnonline.com to hear what Ed Padilla, Craig Butchenhart, Hessam Nadji, Peter Boritz, Mike Myatt, Marc Heisterkamp, Danet Linares, Jeffrey Dunne and Rob Bagguley have to say and to converse with them as they weigh in, some biweekly, others weekly and some even more frequently.In addition, last month we relaunched our technology newsletter as a monthly, renaming it “CPN Tech Talk” and featuring expert columns on applying real estate technology to your daily business needs. Sign up for this free e-newsletter for advice on business strategy, smart and sustainable development processes and materials, intelligent operations and marketing and communications from experts at Yardi Systems Inc., The American Institute of Architects, RTKL Associates Inc., Colliers ABR Inc. and LoopNet. The newsletter also offers case studies, real estate technology news, a link to Peter Boritz’s RealTech program on CPN Radio and Ask the Technologist, featuring Brainlink International Inc.’s Rajesh Goel, who can answer questions on your own specific issues.To sign up for this and other specialty newsletters, including “CPN Sector Update,” which also offers columns from well-known industry players on trends in the five major property types, visit www.cpnonline.com/newsletter.As always, I invite your feedback.