“I save money, but the icing on the cake is that the office decor is of my choice,” Cozine says.
At an otherwise bleak time for real estate, there’s a mini-boom in one corner of commercial property. Dentists like Cozine, restaurant owners, doctors and other business owners are snapping up space in vacant strip malls and office buildings.
They’re doing it with help from a government loan program for small businesses that has been around since 1959 but has shot up in popularity since the end of the recession, with private lenders wary about extending real estate loans.
The amount of small businesses loans under this program rose at an annual rate of 16 percent in the three years after the end of the recession in 2009 to $4.45 billion, according to the Small Business Administration. After the 2008 financial crisis, banks were so reluctant to lend that 27 percent of such loans disappeared in 2009.
It’s a good time to be a buyer now. Commercial real estate prices are at rock bottom, fallen 30 percent from the peak nationally. And interest rates — for those who can get loans, anyway — are at historic lows.
However, small businesses balk at the 25 percent required up front for a typical loan, especially at a time when they have worked hard to save cash after
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