Dealmaking was supposed to be the name of the game at Information Management Network’s recent investment conference. The reality is that there are few deals to be made, despite an abundance of dry powder in the market. One industry veteran who co-led a panel at the event, IMN’s 19th Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing, remarked that this is the worst environment he has seen in 20 years. RSM sponsored the gathering, which provided industry insights and a networking platform for more than 1,100 market participants on Jan. 18-20 in Laguna Beach, California. Conference sessions included various sector updates and insights on raising and operating private equity real estate funds. The conference highlighted the importance of technology in real estate, but the underlying tone of each session was the recessionary condition of the macro-economy and the resulting decrease in transactional volume across sectors. Transaction volume has stalled, CoStar data shows, sparking fears of a frozen market. The collective market sentiment—echoed among IMN event participants—is that rising interest rates and tighter lending conditions have ended the era of free money, and the industry-wide adjustment appears to have settled into a long transition to the new normal. Rising rates have made deal metrics harder to obtain, and as a result, the amount of capital being raised for funds has created hesitancy in the overall market. While real estate investors will proclaim there is always an opportunity to invest in a market under turmoil, interest rates will need to stabilize to encourage movement in transaction volume. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has not indicated there will be a return to near-zero interest rates in the foreseeable future, which means the industry will need to adjust to this new rate environment.