[IMGCAP(1)]NEWARK-Although the debt and credit markets pose many challenges now, panelists at a day-long event titled the Credit Crisis: Money for Real Estate said the markets are closer to normal levels than they have been for years. Some real estate sectors in New Jersey are struggling, but the more optimistic lenders and borrowers see great possibilities in cities that are undergoing revitalization, such as Newark.

According to panelist Jeffrey Dunne, a vice-chairman with CB Richard Ellis, there is money for deals in the market. Unlike the crisis in the ’90s, when equity was lacking, there is plenty of equity in the market today. Most of the investment funds, however, are being cautious and are only taking on smaller deals or deals where there’s existing debt in place.

[IMGCAP(2)]Arthur Stern, a founding partner and CEO of Cogswell Realty pointed out that the lack of clarity in the current market is making many companies reluctant to commit. “We’ve all been through tough cycles,” he said. “What’s missing from this cycle is clarity. Nobody knows where the market’s going to go.” He explained that the uncertainty was making sellers reluctant to sell property for the lower-than-last-year prices dictated by market conditions, tenants unwilling to sign new leases and lenders reluctant to hand out as much money as they would have a year or 18 months ago.

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