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Commercial property values expected to decline thorough 2010


Commercial property values in the United States fell 3 percent in August from July, as job losses and the recession lessened demand for office and retail space. Demand for rental apartments was also down, Bloomberg reported.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the market has declined nearly 41 percent since its peak in October 2007, with prices falling 8 percent in both April and May. Moody’s August report was based on the sale prices of 73 properties – totaling $950 million – for which Moody’s has previous price records.

“We can’t call a bottom at this point, but it’s an encouraging sign to see the deceleration in the decline,” said Connie Petruzziello, a Moody’s analyst. August marked the 11th consecutive month that the commercial property index fell.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which cited growing vacancy rates, the risk of forced sales and the credit crunch in a Sept. 30 report, estimates that commercial real estate prices will fall an additional 17 percent through the fourth quarter of 2010.

According to Reis Inc., a New York-based property research firm, office vacancies climbed to a five-year high of 16.5 percent in the third quarter and mall vacancies were the highest since 1992. Apartment vacancies reached a 23-year high.

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