As Tishman Speyer tries to salvage its 2007 deal for a handful of prominent buildings in Chicago, its travails illustrate just how overheated commercial real estate got. From The Times:
We clearly bought the real estate at the top of the market,” Rob Speyer, 40, said in an interview at the company’s Rockefeller Center offices. “In retrospect, we overpaid.”
“Anybody who bought property in the last six years has their equity pretty well washed out,” said Ray Torto, chief economist at CB Richard Ellis, a real estate firm. “People are looking back on that period as the peak of the madness, the bubble. The expectation was that there was always someone who would pay a higher price after you.”
The quote that best summarizes what the Aughts were all about came from Citi’s then-CEO Chuck Prince, who said back in 2007, “as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.” That’s what it came down to, ultimately. On Wall Street, in the housing market, for the mortgage lenders, it didn’t matter what you thought; if the music was still playing, you had to keep dancing.