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Steven Good, chair of the National Association of Realtors’ Commercial Alliance Committee – as well as president and CEO of Sheldon Good & Co. in Chicago – was in Washington, DC recently as the locally-based NAR released its Commercial Real Estate Outlook.But the timing of Good’s visit and the report’s release was coincidental; Good was in town to attend an emergency meeting of the Commercial Alliance Committee to discuss policy recommendations NAR will be making to the Obama Administration. The credit situation for commercial real estate is dire, he tells Globest.com – not that readers would be surprised by that news. What may catch some off guard, though, is how quickly the environment may further deteriorate next year. “There is a staggering amount of loans that will need to be refinanced next year,” he says. NAR puts the figure at $400 billion. “Right now there is no liquidity out there to refinance those loans.”

GlobeSt.com: It’s been bad so far, but as I see it the situation is getting worse because real estate fundamentals are now starting to erode. Before we had a bad credit environment, but stable fundamentals. Now we have both bad credit and weakening fundamentals to deal with.

Good: That’s right. With the exception of multifamily, the lending spigot is being turned off for that reason, and we anticipate severe illiquidity for many otherwise healthy properties in 2009. Good income-producing properties will not be able to get financing because there will be none to be had.

GlobeSt.com: What will the group be recommending to Congress?

Good: There are a number of recommendations being vetted through NAR’s leadership, which I am not prepared to discuss specifically. One focus is how we could harness to Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to aid with the problems in getting commercial and construction loans.

GlobeSt.com: The CRE industry is no longer a focus of TARP, as of mid-November, according to what Secretary Henry Paulson said.

Good: True, but there are ways the federal government and/or Congress can still help the industry. There are many newly constructed condo projects right now that are worth less than their construction loans. If no additional liquidity is injected into the system, banks won’t be able to move these off of their books.

GlobeSt.com: How well do you think TARP and the government have performed so far?

Good: They have put forth a lot of good ideas but the problem has been that Congress has been solely focused on the mortgage crisis from the residential side. Now banks and financial institutions are all out of cash and they are unwilling to lend for fear of realizing significant losses in immediate future. The volume of commercial transactions relative to where they were last year has dropped anywhere from 50% to 70%– no one can make a deal because there is no money out there to make a deal with.

GlobeSt.com: So you will be suggesting policies to help ease the credit crunch and hopefully save some of the commercial mortgages that are looking likely to default next year. How successful has the NAR been in lobbying Congress and Treasury over the course of this crisis?

Good: Well, we did suggest a plan for Treasury to effectively lower residential mortgage rates to 4.5%. That seems to be under serious consideration. With the commercial industry we have an extra step – raising visibility of the problem. We understand that residential foreclosures have taken center stage –and for good reason – but we see a tsunami coming in the commercial markets that will dwarf in dollar terms the problems in the residential markets if something isn’t done.

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