Top 10 Office Markets See Modest Gains

While prices across commercial real estate are down from a year ago, they increased in September up 2.5 percent from the month before, according to an Associated Press report on Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices. The top 10 markets showed modest gains in all property sectors in the third quarter, Moody’s said. Office prices in the top 10 cities saw a 2.2 percent increase from the previous quarter while overall nationally, office prices were down 1 percent in the third quarter; industrial and retail prices were nearly flat; and apartment prices were up 2.3 percent, according to the report.Still, prices for the four property types are down significantly year over year, Moody’s said. Compared with September 2007, apartments fell 7.2 percent, industrial dropped 10.1 percent, office was down 8.3 percent, and retail fell 9.9 percent. The news doesn’t get any better on the homebuilding front either. The Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes and apartments fell 4.5 percent in October, the fourth straight monthly decline. Construction sank to an annual rate of 791,000 units from an upwardly revised September rate of 828,000 units. The U.S. housing recession has triggered investors to move their shares in homebuilders as Lennar, D.R. Horton, Centex, KB Home and Beazer all tumbled 10 percent or more, the Associated Press reported. European and Asian stock markets tumbled today after recession fears sent Wall Street plunging the day before. The losses in Europe and Asia come in the wake of a 427 point, or 5.1 percent, slide in the Dow Jones index of leading U.S. shares. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index also slid 6.1 percent to 806.58, both closed at their lowest levels since March 2003.Wall Street appeared poised for another bout of selling. Dow futures were down 92 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,935, while S&P futures were down 12.6 points, or 1.6 percent, to 799.9. The Washington Business Journal reported that Fannie Mae could lose its listing on the New York Stock Exchange if it doesn’t boost its per-share price above $1.The average closing price of Fannie Mae’s stock for the 30 consecutive trading days ending Nov. 12 was less than $1 per share. As a result, the company’s common stock and each of its listed series of preferred stock are subject to suspension and delisting unless the company notifies the NYSE by Nov. 26 of its plans to cure the deficiency. The Associated Press stated that economists predict a government report out today will show that the number of newly laid-off workers filing applications for unemployment benefits last week dipped to 505,000. In the prior week, new applications filed for jobless benefits zoomed to 516,000, the most since right after the September 2001 terror attacks.