Goodbye to “easy money” for Arizona, downtown Phoenix development, experts say

[Source: Brahm Resnik, Channel 12 News] — The casino is officially closed.  Today’s turmoil on Wall Street — just the latest chapter in the unraveling of the housing market — officially slams the door on the easy money that fueled the housing boom in Arizona, according to several experts.  Now consumers and businesses will find it tougher to line up loans for homes, cars, or expansions.   “There’s no doubt about it — money is tight,” said Anthony B. Sanders, finance professor at Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business.  “It’s tougher than heck to get money to finance development in downtown Phoenix.”

In the long term, Sanders says, the shrinking financial sector could pay off for consumers.   “Some lenders going away into the sunset might actually serve to improve the market conditions,” he said, “leaving stronger banks in place, which would stabilize the economy.”  But first those weaker banks have to find white knights.  “We now have financial firms engaged in the corporate equivalent of speed dating,” said Stephen Barnes, of Barnes Investment Advisory in Phoenix.  “They’re all trying to find a partner.”

Some of the weakest players, Sanders says: Washington Mutual, a major mortgage player in the Valley, and Wachovia, a big bank making an ambitious expansion here.  “It’s going to be pretty volatile the next few months,” Barnes said, “but this is how you get well.”

Posted on September 16, 2008, in Affordable Housing, Downtown Vitality, Finances, Governance, Office Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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