Very nice Wall Street Journal Online article on how the uncertainty among institutional investors has created less competition for smaller individual commercial property investors.

For small investors who’ve been shut out of the commercial-property market in recent years, there’s a bright side to the mortgage meltdown: It’s much easier for them to compete.

When Andrew Brooks first offered $15 million for a medical-office building in Valencia, Calif., in early August, the seller turned down the 44-year-old orthopedic surgeon.

But just three weeks later, the seller called back Dr. Brooks, who lives in Los Angeles. The two large real-estate investment trusts that had knocked the doctor out of the running with their bids were no longer interested. Dr. Brooks believes that the companies were unable — or unwilling — to come up with the cash.

That left Dr. Brooks, who buys medical-office buildings (in addition to performing surgeries related to sports injuries), as the sole player. He quickly put down a “substantial” nonrefundable cash deposit to buy the property for $800,000 less than he had originally offered, and is waiting for the deal to close. Though the marketplace for health-care-related properties has been extremely competitive over the past few years, “if you’ve got some cash to spend, there’s a tremendous opportunity,” Dr. Brooks says.