Revised article published in AREUEA 22, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 33-58.
Banks, particularly in New England, have experienced major losses of capital as a result of their exposure to risky real estate loans. These losses, accompanied by strict enforcement of capital regulations, have caused banks to shrink their assets in an attempt to improve their capital/asset ratios. Poorly capitalized banks have contracted their real estate loans much more than their better-capitalized peers. In New England, which experienced widespread shocks to bank capital, credit availability for real estate is being constrained by capital-impaired lenders.