How Commercial Real Estate Could Trigger a Double-Dip

Reports that commercial real estate (CRE) is suffering from a double whammy of soaring vacancies and declining valuations have been making news recently with sobering regularity. DailyFinance addressed the risks that CRE meltdowns pose to banks in early December. And in a stunning confirmation, just weeks later Morgan Stanley announced it was "walking away" from five San Francisco office towers, giving them back to the lenders. These accounts address the impacts on real estate investors, banks and hard-hit locales such as Southern California. But a bigger, often-overlooked, risk is the potential for CRE to remain a drag on the U.S. economy for years to come, or its potential to trigger a slide back into recession -- the so-called double dip that many fear.