CRE Pricing Continues to Fall, Returns to 2005 Levels

As commercial real estate prices continue to drop, the latest report on just how far they have fallen was released this week, with the latest Moody’s/REAL National All Property Type Index measuring 160.46 for December–a decrease of 2.2 percent over the previous month and a decline of 14.9 percent for the year. Moreover, the index is 7.8 percent lower than it was two years ago. “As in previous years, the number of repeat sale transactions increased in December when compared with November,” said Neal Elkin, president of REAL. “In addition, the dollar volume of activity also rose compared with November. With a rising level of activity at lower prices, we now have the first accurate picture of how much prices have fallen in 2008.”Additionally, the report states that nationally three out of the four property types experienced double digit declines last year. Following the decline that began back in 2007, the retail index remained stable in the top 10 markets.In another recently-released pricing report, Cushman & Wakefield Inc.’s Investment Atlas 2009, which came out last week, said that investment in commercial real estate across the globe plummeted 59 percent in 2008, going from just over $1 billion in 2007 to just $435 billion. North America topped the list with a 73 percent decline in investment, followed by Europe, where investment plunged 52 percent, and then Asia, where numbers fell 45 percent. The silver lining of all this price reduction, of course, is the bargains available for those investors with cash to spend. A capital markets report released last week by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. says that in the years to come this year may “be most remembered for presenting some of the most attractive investment opportunities in living memory for astute investors who are very focused on quality assets in the market and armed with large amounts of equity at their disposal.”