Be Kind, ’09! A National Commercial Real Estate Perspective

Oh, it’s ugly out there for commercial real estate and its investors. The Times‘ Vivian Marino ran down the national picture over the weekend, including this dismal statistical gem about ’08 investment sales nationwide:

From January through December, there were just 1,410 transactions nationwide, valued at $49.3 billion, versus 4,410, valued at $207.2 billion, for the corresponding period in 2007, according to the latest data from Real Capital Analytics, a research company. It predicted that sales would total $53 billion to $55 billion for all of 2008, further below a recently reduced forecast of $61 billion.

At the same time, demand for offices has softened as companies have cut back or consolidated operations; many of them are already subleasing space that they no longer need. Office vacancies nationwide rose to around 13.5 percent by mid-December from about 12.5 percent, on average, in 2007, according to Reis Inc., another research company.

Part of the fallout from ebbing demand, of course, is falling rents: Ms. Marino notes that in Manhattan, “rents are expected to plunge 10 to 20 percent by 2010, and nationally by 5 to 15 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield…”

And REITs? It’s tough for them as well (including local ones), with little improvement expected in 2009.

Be Kind, ’09! A National Commercial Real Estate Perspective