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Archive: Jonathan D. Miller

Property Market Consequences: Entering the Era of Less

Jonathan D. Miller / Nov 19 2010

For Release Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jonathan D. MillerFollowing a hard crash on the heels of the nationwide housing bust, U.S. commercial real estate markets have just begun their crawl off bottom. And investors — as well as the nation at large — have to confront an unwelcome reality.

The harsh fact is that America, whether we want to admit it or not, has entered a new economic period — an “Era of Less.” It is producing unsettling consequences, including reduced investment returns, restrained development prospects, and for the larger housing picture, shrinking space demands on a per capita basis.
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Ongoing Drag: Commercial Real Estate

Jonathan D. Miller / Feb 07 2010

For Release Monday, February 8, 2010

Jonathan D. Miller Here’s the good news: The economy may be turning the corner thanks to a heavy dose of government stimulus. And since March stock and bond portfolios have rebounded and at least house prices have bottomed after a three year freefall.

But lots of problems remain — not just slowness of job recovery. Just check the corner I watch for a living: commercial property. This sector continues to sink, buried in hundreds of billions of dollars in bad loans to overleveraged owners, who paid too much during a frenzied 2004-2008 transaction binge. Representative of these toxic assets, half-built condo projects, see-through floors in office buildings, and papered-over mall store fronts stand on view from coast to coast.

Commercial real estate usually lags post-recession upturns. But continuing declines in office, shopping center, hotel, apartment and warehouse markets strain the nation’s still-fragile banking sector and threaten to temper prospects for sustained economic recovery.

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New Century Infrastructure: Where’s the Plan???

Jonathan D. Miller / Apr 23 2009

For Release Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jonathan D. MillerThe good news is that and states cities have begun fixing bridges, paving roads, repairing subway tracks, and upgrading sewage treatment plants.

And it’s clear–throwing stimulus money at ad hoc projects, generating jobs in a serious recession, can add value, especially when the funds are targeted at refurbishing aging systems which otherwise might break down or even collapse.

But let’s not pretend this short-term, ad hoc spending remotely addresses America’s infrastructure needs. The United States desperately requires a forward-looking plan for 21st century infrastructure that can support and sustain renewed economic growth and accommodate 100 million more Americans over the next 40 years.

Our last game-changing national infrastructure initiative dates back more than five decades ago to President Eisenhower’s interstate highway system–nearly 50,000 miles of sleek freeways, which spurred dramatic suburban growth and enabled long distance car and truck travel. Read More »

Infrastructure, the Economy: Hello! — They’re Linked!

Jonathan D. Miller / Oct 02 2008

For Release Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jonathan D. Miller

Lost in the election scramble, bank rescues and heated debate over government bailouts is the simple fact that American needs to rebuild its wealth — we’re busted.

The national debt grows to over $9.8 trillion and climbs rapidly while the current $407 billion federal deficit has nowhere to go but up as the federal government grapples with a teetering national economy. The next president will struggle to recapitalize the country while hundreds of billions of dollars go each year just to service our prodigious national debt. For all the belt-tightening talk, eliminating $16.5 billion in annual earmark expenditures would make only a minor dent in the huge federal deficit.

So what do we do — when our Treasury registers empty and we confront so many other challenges?

In the first presidential debate, both candidates conveniently sidestepped the hard choices they will face. John McCain suggested a possible spending freeze and Barack Obama admitted some of his big ticket plans may need to be shelved for at least a while. At least, Obama made passing reference to rebuilding the country’s increasingly dated and inadequate infrastructure as an important priority. Read More »