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www.charlestonmarketreport.com “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward

July 2009 Edition In This Issue:

Green shoots? Inflation or Deflation? Halftime in the Stock Market Has Housing Really Bottomed?

30%

Foreclosures Commercial Real Estate Charleston Residential

BTW, I consider myself a realist in a world full of economic problems. Let’s try to figure out how to adjust the sales.

Green shoots?

Is it just me or has the current Administration and Congress lost their minds?

I am not seeing any green shoots right now. All I see is a bunch of reporters, economists and politicians with very brown eyes running around in the local and main stream media giving suspect forecasts and ideas. A bottom can not be called with one month worth of data! Trends and moving averages in real estate take one year worth of data to really determine if housing data can support an increase in sales.

Were you aware? The U.S. is auctioning off $235 billion in Treasuries this week. If we continue this pace we will reach $12 Trillion in a year….insanity!

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I have to admit that there are so many moving economic parts to this economy implemented by “Big Mama” right now combined with the complexities of a global economy that it is very difficult for me to follow at this point. First you have to find the correct data and information and then analyze it through a variety of complicated financial and regulatory mazes that would confuse most Rocket Scientists. In this new premium version of the CMR I will attempt to break some of it down and paint a picture of what is happening here in Charleston and the U.S. but it will not be easy.

All I know is that before any recovery can occur in this great nation of ours we need JOBS. Many of the economic proposals coming from the Obama Administration will do a perfect job of destroying future jobs due to taxing the rich, nationalizing healthcare and simply NOT fixing many of the regulatory and structural problems in the credit, Wall Street and Real Estate industries that led us down this road to a financial mess. Where is the help for the small business owners who employ almost every American in this country?

We have to be careful looking at the returns of the stock market to distinguish how bad this current recession really is. After The Great Depression huge rallies occurred in the stock market just like we just witnessed from March 2009 to the present. However, unemployment can really distinguish how severe this recession is at the moment and I am concerned and so should you.

is at the moment and I am concerned and so should you. Below are the unemployment

Below are the unemployment rates after the Great Depression. The U6 unemployment number, which is never reported, and measures the entire job market, is at 16.5% right now. Now I do not know how the US Government calculated unemployment after the Great Depression but the current U6 number from ShaddowStats.com below and the unemployment in 1931 are very close. Since the U3 US and Charleston unemployment numbers (which are not accurate) are the same then I would assume that Charleston’s true unemployment is around 16-20% right now. I can only imagine how difficult it is to try and find a decent job in Charleston right now.

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Not only is unemployment acting similar to the years of the Great Depression but so
Not only is unemployment acting similar to the years of the Great Depression but so

Not only is unemployment acting similar to the years of the Great Depression but so is the stock market. These numbers are higher than the 2000 to 2002 and 1973-1974 bear markets and are in range with the 1929-1932 markets. That might be surprising given the fact that the CBOE Volatility Index [VIX] has continued to move lower over the course of the year.

The lucky few who have the good jobs can look forward to this President and Congress taxing them to death which will slow and then erode growth locally and nationally. I hate to sound so damn bearish but someone please tell me how a government is going to spend and tax it’s way out of the worst economic crisis in the past 100 years. The policies coming out of DC to try and bring this economy back to life are going to do the opposite when you look at such issues as Cap and Trade, Health Care, TARP, Stimupork, etc.

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The chart above shows how much time (in weeks) it is taking Americans to find

The chart above shows how much time (in weeks) it is taking Americans to find a job. Notice the major spike that occurred after the “credit meltdown” in the Fall of 2008 has almost doubled the time it is taking to find a job. Not a very good stat.

The main question I have regarding the important unemployment statistic is where are the new jobs going to come from in an environment of government takeovers, increasing taxes, stagnant growth, anti small business policies and crippling regulation?

increasing taxes, stagnant growth, anti small business policies and crippling regulation? www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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I do not believe many of these jobs are going to come back anytime soon

I do not believe many of these jobs are going to come back anytime soon which will place further pressure on federal and state governments in order to support the unemployed and the loss of important tax revenues during an era in DC of “Spending Gone Wild.”

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Charleston- North Charleston, SC (MSA) Unemployment

10 9 8 7 6 5 Jan-09 4 Jan-08 Created by: Brad Rundbaken 3 Jan-07
10
9
8
7
6
5
Jan-09
4
Jan-08
Created by: Brad Rundbaken
3
Jan-07
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2
Jan-06
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Jan-05
1
Jan-04
Jan-03
Jan-02
Jan-01
Jan-00
Jan-99
Jan-98
Jan-97
Jan-96
Jan-95
Jan-94
Jan-93
Jan-92
Jan-91
Jan-90
Unemployment Rate %

Date

Charleston U.S. 13 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston) 27 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston)

Charleston

U.S.

13 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston)

27 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston)

Charleston U.S. 13 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston) 27 per. Mov. Avg. (Charleston) www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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Inflation, Deflation or “Flation”?

Inflation, Deflation or “Flation”? This is the trillion dollar question that is critical to answer in

This is the trillion dollar question that is critical to answer in order to be properly positioned to manage risk and make money moving forward. So I am going to try and break down this debate and determine what the real answer is so we can all be prepared for what the future holds.

I do not see any evidence of hyperinflation because the velocity of money is weak. The Fed has lent out tremendous amounts of money to various banks but these institutions are hording this cash or are not lending because of a beaten down borrower in a declining real estate market rules out any inflation at the present time. In order for inflation to become a reality there must be an increase in both lending and borrowing which simply has not happened.

The chart below demonstrates how commercial loans have declined over the past 9 months. Do not forget that we still have banks being shut down, many shadow banks (ie.Citigroup) have become nationalized and are now zombie banks

and foreclosures and delinquencies continue to rise in most states that do not have a foreclosure moratorium in place. This is the result of too much credit which now results in too much debt that has evolved into wealth destruction for

almost everyone in their stock portfolios and housing values.

over the next four years the ratio of U.S. government debt will rise to between 71% and 80% of GDP which is up from 41% at the end of 2008. Many believe the 71% figure is understated and I agree especially if programs such as Cap and Trade and nationalized healthcare become a reality.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that

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What is fascinating and scary at the same time is how the states must reduce

What is fascinating and scary at the same time is how the states must reduce their spending while the federal government has literally gone wild with spending. The difference is that “Big Mama” has access to a printing press and the states do not. So far this year 23 states have imposed tax increases, with another 13 states pondering whether to pull the tax increase trigger. The key point to understand is that this policy mix is the same approach that failed the U.S. from 1929-1941 (The Great Depression) and Japan over the past two decades.

The United States is clearly an overleveraged economy that is currently experiencing stagnant growth. This is the exact same road Japan went down with their real estate and stock market in 1989. The problem that arises in an overleveraged economy is that debt repayment becomes more burdensome and a drag on finances.

economy is that debt repayment becomes more burdensome and a drag on finances. www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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In the chart above the greater private debt load from 1989-96 and the massive increase in government debt in 1989 to present resulted in two lost decades. The Japanese scenario is very similar to the U.S. debt problems which should result in a deflationary environment. Below are some quick facts about the Japan deflation consequences in the land of the rising sun:

Today Japan real estate is still down approximately 50-80% depending on location.

The Nikkei is down 75%, 20 years after the crash.

A 10 year bond is 1.38% in Japan.

Their population is aging.

When the economy picks back up and housing and commercial real estate bottoms out the banks will feel more comfortable lending on residential and commercial loans will be the moment we will see inflation rear its ugly head but I feel we are years away from this happening. When the massive amounts of cash is eventually loaned to individuals and businesses it could trigger a hyperinflationary situation but this scenario is difficult to predict right now.

In my opinion, the main threat to economy right now is clearly deflation not inflation. A couple of reasons why I see deflation are:

Many Americans have switched to a much more frugal lifestyle due to concern about the economy, their jobs and income.

Stimulus programs are having a difficult time working because the global credit system is broken and still frozen in many sectors especially commercial real estate.

Banks are nervous to make loans on more “falling knives” in residential and commercial real estate. I do not blame them. This is exactly how the banks should behave in order to protect their balance sheets. If you were a bank wouldn’t you be very careful and require conservative LTVs in order to protect your capital?

Consumers are pulling back on consumption. Case in point, today UPS reported profits were down 47%! If society is not consuming there is nothing to ship.

UPS reported profits were down 47%! If society is not consuming there is nothing to ship.

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Since we have to have a bottom in real estate in order to get an economic rebound it is realistic to anticipate a bottom around 2012 or later by using Japan as a guide but it offers no guarantee.

On the flip side we have to be careful comparing the U.S. situation to Japan because there are differences.

For instance, it took the Bank of Japan nearly nine years to bring the overnight interest rate from its 1991 peak of eight percent down to zero. The U.S. Federal Reserve did that within 16 months of declaring a financial emergency, which it did in August 2007.

The Fed has also applied all sorts of unconventional measures to keep credit from drying up. Tokyo used government money to help its banks keep lending to insolvent borrowers and protect their shareholders. The result was a country that became even more deeply indebted, supported by an economy that was not productive enough to pay it all off.

Consequently, Japan’s public debt, already the world’s largest (second only to Zimbabwe!), will surge to 197 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, according to the OECD:

197 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, according to the OECD: Source:reitwrecks.com www.charlestonmarketreport.com

Source:reitwrecks.com

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In conclusion, when credit is destroyed faster than the Fed can print money should result

In conclusion, when credit is destroyed faster than the Fed can print money should result in deflation along with boom and bust cycles for many years to come. What this means is that real estate will not be much of an investment for most until a bottom is officially reached. This also means that a buy and hold mentality with your stock portfolio will probably result in another lost decade just like 2000- present. I would highly recommend an active trading portfolio strategy in order to produce positive results in the future. Both the U.S. and Japanese learned that recovering from a credit bubble is not an overnight or quick fix but rather a long and painful ordeal. The Japanese have learned many valuable lessons from their deflation experience by trying to utilize stimulus programs, quantitative easing (printing money), lowering interest rates to zero, weakening the yen and many other failed policies. Wow, those lessons sound very familiar.

In my opinion the only way to get out of a liquidity trade that is deflationary is to allow the market to correct itself. Government intervention is actually just prolonging the needed correction especially in real estate that the economy desperately needs in order to truly bottom out. In a credit based economy lenders must lend and borrowers need to borrow before the economy can recover and inflation will be a threat. At this present time this is just not happening enough in most areas of real estate, except for certain parts of the lower end of the residential market. However, healthcare, energy, food and other aspects of the economy are inflationary and are not reflected properly in the CPI released by BLS. It should also be noted that Japan has had rampant inflation (consumer goods that are used) and deflation (hard assets) simultaneously.

So what we really have at the moment is a mixture of inflation and deflation but deflation is more prevalent. The collapse of the velocity of money and inability of it to reach the consumer (from a supply and demand perspective) will result in more deflationary trends in the short term until real estate bottoms, jobs returns and confidence returns to a badly bruised consumer.

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Halftime in the Stock Market

One of the reasons earnings for many companies are coming in better is that they have slashed and burned costs. One way of doing this cost cutting is by laying off employees. Even though we are seeing a nice bounce off the S&P 500 low of 666 in March 2009 the earnings results via shedding jobs has other ramifications on many other companies and the economy. The millions of unemployed do not get to participate in the stock market and are merely trying to find a way to get a job and keep their home out of foreclosure.

a way to get a job and keep their home out of foreclosure. It has been

It has been a heck of a rally since early March 2009 but we have to put the stock market into perspective. Remember to watch the noise on TV, newspapers and magazines because at the end of the day without any risk management in your investment portfolio you will be a victim of the “Lost Decade.”

risk management in your investment portfolio you will be a victim of the “Lost Decade.” www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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• The banking sector has stabilized but lending is much more difficult due to a

The banking sector has stabilized but lending is much more difficult due to a frozen securitization market.

The economic recovery will heavily depend on a rebound in the housing market. However, with no secondary market for mortgages and tighter lending standards, falling home prices and increasing unemployment the housing market has not been able to rebound in a very low interest rate environment with first time homebuyer incentives.

Obviously slow and nonexistent growth is going to be the norm over the next several quarters.

Consumers are concerned over the lack of security at their jobs, a non business friendly government and a loss of wealth in their home values and maybe their wages.

The U.S. budget deficit being reported is downright insanity (Just passed a trillion dollars in June) and we have a President and Congress who have no concerns over the ramifications of running trillion dollar deficits with zero desire or determination of trying to cut spending.

The current 2009 deficit is approximately 13% of the country’s GDP. This would be the second biggest since WWII in 1945 when it reached 21.5%.

The equity and bond markets are extremely volatile right now and I expect more downside in the future. I could easily see the S&P 500 trade like a yo-yo between 666 and 950 for a while.

Buy and hold will be difficult but I hope the worst is behind us.

Time will tell and risk management will be critical.

Interestingly enough, the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 2009 compares similarly to 2008 and the 1930’s in terms of volatility. So far in 2009, 57% of the trading days have seen the DJIA move at least 1%, either up or down, closing to closing in a single day. As well, 29% of the days have seen a movement of at least 2% in a

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single day. Surprisingly, those numbers have not changed from the end of the first quarter of 2009 and they are in line with 2008’s numbers. These numbers are higher than the 2000 to 2002 and 1973-1974 bear markets and are in range with the 1929-1932 markets. This is all to say that the market environment we have been in over the past year and a half has seen historically high volatility.

Opportunities in international equities continue to look attractive versus other asset classes.

For the most part, all of the major market indexes, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have returned to positive trends.

While the commodity market in general has taken a breather over the past few weeks, there are some interesting looking opportunities here, mostly among the metals.

The US Dollar continues to trade in a long term negative trend, and after a period of consolidation over the course of the past couple of weeks the US Dollar broke down again at $79. All in all, the picture for the US Dollar is not a healthy one.

Has Housing Really Bottomed?

The recent reports of surging home sales are little more than Wall Street, Administration and media hype, overplaying results of limited-quality series plateauing at historic lows. The Census data is statistically flawed.

at historic lows. The Census data is statistically flawed. While the Census Bureau reported last week

While the Census Bureau reported last week that housing starts surged month-over-month, these headline-grabbing numbers are the seasonally adjusted data, which can fluctuate wildly. They often create great headlines because of the significant changes each month.

A better way to look at construction activity is on a rolling 12-month basis, using the non-seasonally adjusted data, which is shown in the graph below. When the line starts to flatten, construction activity will be close to matching the same month from the prior year. When construction is close to running flat year-over-year, you can expect that we are near the bottom in construction.

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Our forecast calls for housing starts to remain extremely low compared to history through 2010,

Our forecast calls for housing starts to remain extremely low compared to history through 2010, followed by a steady recovery in 2011. Anecdotally, this makes sense too, for the following reasons:

Community Count: Most of our large home builder clients confirm that they will have fewer communities open next year,

Land Buying: Although distressed land buying activity is picking up, thus far the activity has been insignificant, and

Construction Financing: Most of our private home builder clients confirm that construction financing is very difficult to obtain.

Currently at just over 650,000 starts, the rolling 12-month total should drop below 470,000 this year, with slight improvement in 2010. We have modeled the shape of our recovery forecast as one that is slightly more aggressive than the recovery in Houston in the mid 1980s and in Southern California in the mid 1990s. Our forecast looks like this:

California in the mid 1990s. Our forecast looks like this: Our most bearish clients argue that

Our most bearish clients argue that our forecast is too optimistic, and they point to the horrible outlook for the economy and to housing vacancy statistics that show that there are more than 1 million excess vacant homes. While

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we wholeheartedly agree that there does not need to be more shelter constructed for purely shelter reasons, there are other drivers:

Builder Needs: Public and private home builders are going to keep building because that is what they do for a living. Many of the public builders need to grow their businesses to refinance the billions of dollars of debt coming due in a few years.

Bank Selling: At some point, the banks will be selling REO finished lots at prices where builders can make money building homes.

Custom Homes: There are still plenty of people who have enough money to build their dream home or their second home.

Location: There are plenty of desirable neighborhoods without significant distress and where construction makes sense. New construction in outlying areas will ground to halt, while construction near employment centers and in areas with good schools will continue.

We are currently at the lowest level of construction on record since the Census Bureau began tracking construction statistics in 1959. In fact, the current rolling 12-month starts total is nearly 40% below the 12-month total through July 1975 – the lowest level from previous cycles. We think we can claw our way back to 982,600 units per year by 2013. While this is more than twice the level of our forecast for 2009, 2013's projected construction level is still lower than 49 of the last 50 years (only 2008 is lower).

Source: John Burns Consulting

Below, the Calculated Risk blog does an excellent job in their chart of showing that housing can actually have two different bottoms. Bill at Calculated Risk states:

There will probably be two bottoms for Residential Real Estate.

The first will be for new home sales, housing starts and residential investment. The second bottom will be for prices. Sometimes these bottoms can happen years apart. It is way too early to try to call the bottom in prices. House prices will probably fall for another year or more. My original prediction (a few years ago) was that real house prices would fall for 5 to 7 years (after 2005), and we could start looking for a bottom in the 2010 to 2012 time frame for the bubble areas. That still seems reasonable to me.

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However, when we look at the local Charleston real estate market as it relates to building permits I see no evidence of a bottom yet. This is good news due to the excessive supply of inventory in raw land and homes that the Tri-County area is currently experiencing. We do not want builders or developers building more homes when we already have close to 10,000 homes for sale or they would just add supply to a real estate market with weak demand compared to one, two and three years ago. My chart uses trend analysis which takes the seasonal aspect of real estate out of the equation.

the seasonal aspect of real estate out of the equation. There is just no evidence in

There is just no evidence in my trend charts that real estate locally in Charleston has made any sort of recovery. I believe we are going to be in this “rut” for a couple of years until the de-leveraging process of credit and the excess inventory can work itself out. If you are an agent, builder, bank, appraiser, developer, etc. the key is going to be risk management and using data and information properly moving forward to make the correct decisions for your clients. It will not be easy but those with the right skills to utilize information and data will reap the rewards.

Let us all not forget the “perfect” home buying conditions we are currently witnessing locally and nationally that have failed to provide any major rebound in sales:

Low mortgage rates

Falling home prices

1 st time homebuyer tax credit that will be funded by our children and their grandchildren.

Tons of new, used and REO inventory

The residential market in Charleston is getting worse when I compare the 2008 months versus the 2009 months. This decline has been very consistent since 2006. I rely on these momentum/trend charts because they work and are proven with over 15 years worth of data. I am not going to reinvent the wheel and try spin a picture of BS that is not www.charlestonmarketreport.com

reality. In my opinion, this correction is necessary and justified based on the credit bubble that was created from 2002-2008. If you understand the ramifications and destruction of the credit bubble then you have to realize a very simple number that continues to stick out at me whenever I am doing research.

When you look at the national sales data it tells a different story than Charleston right now.

data it tells a different story than Charleston right now. 30% Everywhere I look I see
data it tells a different story than Charleston right now. 30% Everywhere I look I see

30%

Everywhere I look I see sales down 30%. Whether it is real estate, auto sales, the stock market, etc. I continue to see prices or sales down 30%. What this number tells me is that our economy was approximately 30% bloated based on false demand caused by an oversupply of easy credit. What this means is that the local, national and global economy www.charlestonmarketreport.com

now must adjust to 30% less demand in many different sectors of the economy. When you are talking about world GDP in the trillions of dollars the 30% correction is very painful for economies all over the world to adjust to overnight. This is why we are witnessing increasing unemployment, state budget crises, lower tax revenues and an almost collapse on an economic system with a foundation built on leverage.

on an economic system with a foundation built on leverage. The local Charleston inventory has been

The local Charleston inventory has been hovering at around 10,000 homes for sale for a while. With these “perfect” buying conditions we would hope this number would decline. Many homeowners that want to sell have given up or are renting which takes active homes off the market. There are also new homes going up for sale each day while some fall off the MLS and go into the world of distressed real estate. I feel that the fact that the inventory numbers in Charleston present reason for concern and clearly show no sign of a rebound yet.

When we take a look at the inventory of the U.S. versus Charleston we are witnessing inventory fall nationally based on the chart below. This is not happening in Charleston right now.

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Foreclosures www.charlestonmarketreport.com

Foreclosures

Foreclosures www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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• Nationally conditions continue to worsen. • 637,822 newly delinquent loans in May – 4

Nationally conditions continue to worsen.

637,822 newly delinquent loans in May – 4 th highest number on record.

This equates to 1.3% of ALL mortgages in the country becoming delinquent in May. This is completely insane and out of control!

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• South Carolina currently has a statewide foreclosure moratorium imposed. • To read to SC

South Carolina currently has a statewide foreclosure moratorium imposed.

To read to SC Supreme Court order click below:

http://scbankers.org/images/forc.pdf

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• An analysis by The Post and Courier shows that during June, the month after

An analysis by The Post and Courier shows that during June, the month after the court order was issued, lenders began foreclosure procedures on 284 Charleston-area properties. That's the lowest monthly volume in more than a year.

The high court's new rule gives homeowners more time to work out potential loan changes with their mortgage lenders, a process that sometimes takes four months just to get an initial response, said Debbie Kidd, who oversees foreclosure counseling for the nonprofit Family Services Inc. in North Charleston.

While the Supreme Court order could help struggling homeowners, housing market analysts say the rule could prolong the real estate market's recovery.

Source: Post and Courier

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/jul/21/applying_brakes89840/

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Commercial Real Estate

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said a potential wave of defaults in commercial real estate may present a “difficult” challenge for the economy, without committing to additional steps to aid the market.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said consumer protection should be added to the Federal Reserve Act as a formal policy goal along with low inflation and full employment.

“We were not quick enough, we were not aggressive enough to address consumer issues earlier in this decade,” Bernanke, 55, said in response to a question from Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee.

“My recommendation to you to consider, Mr. Chairman, would be to ask whether there are steps that could be taken to strengthen the commitment of the Federal Reserve,” Bernanke said on the second day of his semiannual testimony to Congress. “One would be to put consumer protection in the Federal Reserve Act along with full employment and price stability as a major goal of the Fed.”

Hold on a second Helicopter Ben! You want more power after creating the biggest bubble in the history of mankind via a conduit that is against an audit and continuously manipulates the economy and strictly looks out for their friends on Wall Street?

Just remember how “smart” Helicopter Ben and his buddy Greenputz have been over the years as I have pointed out in previous CMR issues. Below is a reminder:

In 2005 Bernanke said there was no housing bubble to bust. "[Housing] increases, he said, "largely reflect strong economic fundamentals," such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households.

Less than two years ago he said things were contained.

In January 2008, he said housing would improve by the end of the year.

Wrong, wrong and wrong…

3 times in a row!

Some important points to recognize regarding commercial real estate:

Commercial real estate tends to lag residential in economic downturns by 12-18 months in terms of severity, and sometimes as much as by two years or more.

Loan losses could reach $30 billion by the end of 2009.

The financing of CRE is different than residential because the loans refund every couple of years which forces owners to rely on stable or improving real estate conditions. The financing and value scenarios today make it very difficult for many banks and owners to work out these loans.

There is approx. $2-3 trillion in CRE loans that will be problematic to refinance making any real estate or full economic recovery difficult.

Many local, regional and national banks and credit unions have exposure to commercial real estate.

Many banking institutions are holding off net charge offs on non performing CRE loans which will present problems in the future. This fuzzy math game is allowed due to the changes made with mark to market accounting standards.

Expect more bank failures in the future once the real CRE numbers come home to roost at the institutions that have massive exposure with no risk management.

“As the recession’s gotten worse in the last six months or so, we’re seeing increased vacancy, declining rents, falling prices -- and so, more pressure on commercial real estate,” Bernanke said yesterday. “We are somewhat concerned about that sector and are paying very close attention to it. We’re taking the steps that we can through the banking system and through the securitization markets to try to address it.”

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• The index is down 15% in the past two months. • There were only

The index is down 15% in the past two months.

There were only 282 transactions in May which broke the old record low set in the early 2000’s.

Distressed sales are starting to exert downward pressure on returns.

Mortgage interest rate increases have killed off potential deals over the past few months.

The apartment sector was hit hardest by this circumstance during the month of May.

Source:www.moodys.com

Charleston Office Market

According the excellent Charleston Commercial report produced each quarter by Grubb & Ellis Barkley Frasier the Charleston metro office market continued to deteriorate in the 2 nd quarter of 2009. Vacancy actually increased as over 125,000 square feet was added to a market already saturated with available office space. The one lone bright spot in Charleston would be the Downtown Central Business District which has 93% of its office space occupied.

Other important points mentioned are:

Landlords have become more flexible on leases which makes sense when the vacancy rate is greater than 20% in all areas of Charleston except downtown.

Borrowing capital is a struggle for owners of leased properties. Where is all that TARP money the banks were supposed to lend? This lending environment is handcuffing the highly leveraged investors who need to make improvements to their properties.

As prices decline and interest rates remain low the investors with access to cash will have an opportunity to score some nice deals in the Charleston area.

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Charleston Retail Market

Charleston Retail Market Charleston Office Market www.charlestonmarketreport.com

Charleston Office Market

Charleston Retail Market Charleston Office Market www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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Source:www.barkleyfrasier.com www.charlestonmarketreport.com

Source:www.barkleyfrasier.com

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Construction Costs

Construction Costs www.charlestonmarketreport.com

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I like this report put together by Brookings because it looks at various aspects of the local Charleston economy. In order to quickly break these areas down for Charleston this is where the report places Charleston in the following economic segments:

Percent Change in employment – Middle 20 Metros Unemployment Rate- Second Weakest 20 Metros Change in Unemployment Rate, March 2008 to 09 – Second Weakest 20 Metros Percent Change in Average Wage, 4 th Qtr 2008 to 1 st Qtr 2009 - Second Weakest 20 Metros Percent Change in GMP, 4 th Qtr 2008 to 1 st Qtr 2009 – Second Strongest 20 Metros Percent Change in Home Price Index, 1 st Qtr 2008 to 1 st Qtr 2009 – Middle 20 Metros REOs per 1000 mortgageable properties – Second Strongest 20 Metros

If you would like the pdf copy of this entire report from Brookings just email me and I would be glad to send it you.

Charleston Residential

and I would be glad to send it you. Charleston Residential Source: College of Charleston Carter

Source: College of Charleston Carter Center

http://www.cofc.edu/cartercenter/documents/hvijul10.pdf

The College of Charleston Monthly Home Value IndexSM indicates that the value of a typical home in the Charleston Tri-County Area increased by 2.51% in June 2009. In comparison, the change in the index value was +8.61 in May 2009, and -5.17% in April 2009.

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So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the report. Sorry I could not

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the report. Sorry I could not gush about the “green shoots” but I am adjusting my sails to reality and I hope you do as well. Yes, this info is contradictory to what you see in the main stream media but it is the truth.

Thanks for reading the CMR and have a great month!

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Disclaimer The research done to gather the data in The Charleston Market Report involves examining thousands of listings. With this much data inaccuracies will occur. Care is taken in gathering and processing the data and information within this report is deemed reliable. IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. The real estate market is cyclical and will have its ups and downs. Past performance cannot determine future performance. The purpose of the Charleston Market Report is to educate you on current and consistent market conditions by reporting leading market indicators with the support of traditional real estate data.

This information is offered with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal, tax or other professional services. If legal, tax or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional are recommended. This is a personal newsletter reflecting the opinions of its author. It is not a production of my employer. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of anyone other than myself.

Investing in real estate is not a get-rich-quick scheme nor is there any guarantee you will make a profit. Every effort has been made to make this report as complete and accurate as possible. However, there may be mistakes. Therefore, this report should be used only as a general guide and not as the ultimate source for making money in real estate.

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