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One year has passed since the beginning of an economic downturn that many thought would be over by now. Recent US Federal Reserve actions and continued negative news flow–about financial institutions around the globe–indicate that tight credit conditions and an illiquid market will persist into 2009. It is yet to be determined how deeply the rest of the world will be impacted by the slowing US economy. The good news is that bad news cannot last forever and an upturn is inevitable, it is just a matter of when.
Generally speaking, in spite of capital market constraints, operating fundamentals of commercial real estate in the US remain fairly strong. While experiencing a 2.5% decline in occupancy during the first half of 2008, the US hotel market has simultaneously achieved a 4.2% increase in average rate, resulting in relatively modest growth of 1.5% in Revenue Per Available Room (REVPAR). Not bad given all the doom and gloom one hears and reads about these days. It is important to remember that for the U.S. hotel industry, any near term negative economic effects that may occur, will transpire against a backdrop of the record U.S. hotel revenues and record profits that occurred during 2007.
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