Last year in Emerging Trends, we predicted that thereal estate jobs picture would change dramatically. Acquisitionsand investment bankers would be out, asset managers and workoutspecialists would be in. Clearly the transactions specialists havebeen hurting big time with generally gridlocked markets, thanks tolittle financing to grease dealmaking and expectations for lowerpricing that sellers are not yet motivated to meet. Leasing andasset managers also have been kept busy trying to squeeze as muchoperating income out of properties in the face of potentiallydeclining NOI (operating income) numbers. What's been moresurprising has been the relative lack of workout activity -- infact defaults and delinquencies have stayed very low.

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This picture may be changing. Banks and other lenders have beenbending over backwards to give borrowers some leeway, and keep anymore nasty loan problems off their plates. But regulators arestarting to crack down and bankers want to clear their balancesheets of problems as soon as possible so they can get back inbusiness sometime next year. It's time to clear the decks, becausethe economic uncertainty gives little hope that borrowers will berescued by increasing demand trends. Finally the lending communityis stepping up hiring of workout specialists in a clear sign thetide on problem loans is turning. "It's not glamorous work, butyou'll learn more about real estate doing workouts in 18 monthsthan you have doing acquisitions for ten years," says a leadingheadhunter, who notes that everyone will continue to make less nextyear.

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So watch as banks move to cut their losses. Expect morecontention between lenders and borrowers to surface, and some roughheadlines. But the good news is there is one growing sector in thereal estate business.

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.