Stock prices have rallied for much of last month. The housing market has shown some early signs of life. And some of the latest economic reports haven’t been the disasters that many experts feared.
While this is hardly a portrait of an economy on a roll, there are enough bright spots to nurture a feeling that the U.S. economy is finally on a path to recovery - especially given the upbeat response the latest elements of the Obama administration’s fix-it plans have received.
But there’s a dark cloud in this picture. And it’s big - big enough, in fact, to potentially finish off the U.S. banking sector, blotting out the U.S. economy’s new dawn.
That dark cloud is the commercial real estate sector. With rent prices falling and vacancies rising due to the recession-weakened economy, delinquencies on commercial mortgages are already escalating steeply. And the credit crunch bred from the recession is often making it impossible for property owners to avoid deeper trouble by refinancing. (more)