We have journeyed many roads over the last few quarters, taken part in many diversions, and had many ups and downs (mostly downs). Now on the cusp of 2009, we find ourselves standing at the edge, peering across the great unknown. Getting to the other side of this financial situation appears more daunting than any experienced in recent history. The commercial real estate market looks on in fear: It is the year of the great divide.
We survived stagflation in the 1970s. We made it through the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s. We dealt with the commercial real estate debacles of the early 1990s, the dot-com bust in 2000, and the terrorist attacks in 2001. We had a handle — or so we thought — on the housing bubble that inflated over the last few years, and when the bubble began to lose air, we were convinced that the difficulties were primarily local and within our control. We have worked our way through several recessions during the last few decades, and we expected to see slower economic growth in 2008. But as recently as 2Q08, when gross domestic product growth was a couple percentage points higher than expected, we thought we averted another recession, or at least a major one. Today, we are uncertain, afraid, and angry