Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Commercial Real Estate Mired in Quicksand despite Signs of Economic Recovery

The third quarter of 2009 brought signs of relief to a U.S. economy fighting to emerge from what has been coined the Great Recession. Most measures of economic activity moved in upward trends—gross domestic product turned positive after four quarters of decline; industrial production gained; stock market indices have been surging.

However, commercial real estate did not find its footing in the constantly shifting terrain of weak fundamentals and timid transaction activity. Demand for commercial properties continued on a downward path, adding pressure on prices and rents. Moreover, credit conditions continued to tighten as banks moved to strengthen their balance sheets. As a result, vacancy rates have been rising and the volume of distressed properties has grown. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the pace of decline in fundamentals is slowing, and sales transactions are posting positive growth.

NAR FORECAST: Commercial real estate is expected to see negative absorption, higher vacancies and declining rents. Commercial financing still poses the main challenge stabilization. While CMBS markets have been revived, volume is insufficient to address maturing debt.

For the 4th Quarter 2009 report, please visit: http://www.realtor.org/research/research/commercialhome

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