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NAR: CRE Recovery Slow but Steady

Slow job creation and tight loan availability are hindering otherwise positive growth in commercial real estate, the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/reports/2012/embargoes/2012-08-commercial-forecast/2012-08-commercial-real-estate-outlook-forecast-2012-08-27.pdf (NAR) reported.


While ""positive underlying fundamentals"" helped boost all of the major commercial real estate sectors, growth in some areas has been tempered by various issues, including job growth and shifts in demand.

""Job creation in the second quarter was about half of what we saw in the first quarter, which is moderating demand in the office sector,"" said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. ""Industrial and warehouse space is holding on better because imports and exports have advanced. While exports to Europe generally are down, trade has been robust with India, China, and other Asian nations, along with Brazil, Mexico, and our strongest trading partner-Canada.""

Demand has also been dampened by problems small businesses have in securing commercial real estate loans. The multifamily sector is the only one that has seen increased demand, which in turn has driven up rents at an accelerated pace.

NAR reports that rents are modestly rising in all of the sectors as vacancy rates fall, vacancy remains above historic averages with the exception of the multifamily sector. The retail sector is especially suffering, with the projected average vacancy rate for 2012 hovering around 11 percent-nearly 3 percentage points higher than the historic average for the sector.

The organization predicts no significant changes in the near future, with many corporate decisions on spending and hiring hinging upon the results of November's elections, Congress' ability to avoid a ""fiscal cliff,"" and other issues such as health care and financial regulations.

""Overall, companies hold plentiful cash reserves, but they are hesitant to hire without clarity over how these outstanding issues will impact the bottom line,"" Yun said.

""Commercial real estate gains could be thwarted if lending from small and community banks dry up from excessive regulatory compliance costs, and if international big-bank capital rules are applied to smaller lending institutions.""

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.

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