In the days leading up to the U.S. government's $250 billion investment in banks and thrifts, Big Builder launched an online survey to determine how its readers' banking relationships have changed in response to the credit freeze. The overwhelming majority of respondents selected some degree of diffulty, ranging from "somewhat difficult" to "impossible."
Said one respondent who deals primarily with community banks for A&D loans and revolving credit facilities to finance vertical construction, "Until the residential marketplace improves, specifically when the amount of foreclosures available is reduced significantly, our lenders have indicated they will not jump back into the market. Our marketplace has anywhere from 12 to 18 months before the current absorptions remove the REOs from the marketplace."
However, given the boldenss of the government's actions over Columbus Day weekend, Big Builder conducted a follow-up survey to determine whether or not anything had changed. Most respondents were less than optimistic as to the possibility of the government's $250 billion cash infusion into the banking system improving builders' dealings with banks moving forward. While 20% felt more confident in their bank dealings in response to the move to unfreeze the credit markets, 40% did not and the remaining 40% remained uncertain.
One respondent remarked, "I don't believe it will make a bit of difference on existing projects or help builders in distress (which is just about everyone). It may help, in time, in financing new land acquisitions. Sales in the field are the only things that will unfreeze the banks in my opinion."