The word "recovery" comes up a lot these days, describing everything from recent job gains to resurgent lending and transaction volume in commercial real estate. But before investors get too carried away by the good news, they should pause to ask themselves, "what are we recovering from?"

It may be safe to say the nation is on its way to recovering from the pandemic. Just over half or 51.4% of US residents had completed a vaccine series for COVID-19 as of Aug. 26, according to tracktherecovery.org. Consumers are frequenting sit-down restaurants and brick-and-mortar retailers again, and businesses are navigating returns to the office. Employment has rebounded in many sectors, although jobs in the lowest quartile are down 20% or more since January 2020 and have moved little in the past 12 months.

What we are not recovering from is a correction in commercial real estate or the larger economy. To the surprise of many experienced professionals in commercial real estate financemyself includedthe real estate markets have had little from which to recover. For now, at least, it appears the federal government's measures to prop up the economy during the pandemic averted a disaster of defaults that threatened to swallow occupiers, landlords and lenders alike. 

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