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Is the US economy on a roll? Sentiment in the commercial real estate market – as well as the direction of underwriting standards – suggests exactly that. This week’s congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen offers a chance for a reality check, or at least a look at the data. The clearest indication that markets may be overheating relative to broad fundamentals can be found in Fed policy itself. If the economy was growing near its potential rate, if the labor market was on an unambiguous path to full employment, and if the overall expansion was not unusually susceptible to external shocks, current monetary policy would be entirely inappropriate.

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