RYE BROOK, NY-One had to look very hard for any silver lining in the capital markets based on what a panel of commercial real estate finance experts had to say at a Urban Land Institute conference here. All agree that the capital markets are in turmoil and will not dramatically improve this year or perhaps even next year.

“Really this has been a debt calamity, debt liquidity freeze much more so than an equity one,” said Adam Raboy, managing director of Credit Suisse. “I think most of us will still tell you that there is a lot of cash on the sidelines willing to invest in equity if they are getting 20-plus percent return on it.”

Raboy was the moderator of a panel discussion staged by the ULI’s Westchester/Fairfield chapter held at the Rye Town Hilton on Tuesday. Stewart Campbell, VP, mortgage banker for Capmark Financial Group’s New York City office, said that the “real hole in the market” is the lack of permanent financing–seven years or more–for any type of real estate deal with the exception of multi-family. In terms of bridge financing, there is some financing options available, however, he notes, not at the leverage levels of the past. He adds that on the multifamily side of the business in the New York region, his firm has encountered competition from area community banks looking to finance projects. Raboy and the other five panelists at the ULI conference agree that commercial finance activity will suffer until someone finds an answer to the lack of available senior debt.

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