With Government support, small businesses buy offices

Las Vegas dentist Chris Cozine wanted to cut costs after the Great Recession. He found an unlikely way: He ditched the office he was renting and bought 6,600 square feet of his own.

At an otherwise bleak time for real estate, there is 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.

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