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Friday News March 4, 2011

Posted by Sean Tufts in Articles, Blogs, Research/Data, Retail News.
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PSBJ – Cascade Fin. acquired by Calif. bank: “Opus said as the new owner of Cascade Financial, it will infuse $460 million of capital into Cascade Bank, bringing it to a healthy position.”

Costar – For Distressed Investors, There is No Where To Go But Up: “If conditions in commercial real estate have indeed hit bottom, then an increased amount of distressed assets could hit the market this year — and values could also begin to tick up…Up until very recently, banks have been reluctant to foreclose on distressed loans because they would be forced to take huge write downs – i.e. losses on those assets. So a policy regarding under-performing loans on commercial real estate that has come to be called “extend and pretend” has become prevalent in banking for the last three years.”

PSBJ Magazine – For King County retailers, fourth quarter bump may be beginning of a long recovery: “If you look at the turnaround, 2010 was not a bad year for retail sales in the Puget Sound area,” Conway told the Puget Sound Business Journal, in an interview. “Sales declined by 4.4 percent in 2009, but turned positive by 3.5 percent in 2010. We now see spending increases of 3.9 percent this year and 4 percent in 2012.”

National Real Estate Investor – Why This Recovery Is So Hard to Gauge: “Meanwhile, transaction volume throughout the industry is ramping up as the pricing gap between buyers and sellers narrows and investors start to deploy the billions of dollars in equity they’ve been amassing. Dare we say it? There is giddiness over the growth prospects for the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market. Domestic issuance is expected to rise from $11.6 billion in 2010 to possibly $50 billion this year.”

Seattle Times – Burst of hiring could mark turning point for jobs: “The 222,000 jobs the private sector created more than offset layoffs by financially squeezed state and local governments. They slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. The unemployment rate sank to 8.9 percent, the lowest since April 2009. The rate has now fallen almost a full percentage point in just three months – the sharpest drop in a generation.”

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