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National Mortgage Professional
Sep 30, 2005

Survey: Bankers optimistic about commercial real estateMortgagePress.comCommercial real estate bankers Commercial real estate bankers continue to regard commercial real estate favorably, and are actively looking to lend in this sector, according to the latest survey released by Bridger Commercial Funding. While they expect the major property sectors to exhibit relative stability in rents and occupancy levels during 2004, this is the first time in two years that a majority of bankers surveyed expect to increase their commercial real estate exposure, suggesting that the market has passed its trough and is recovering. Two additional signs of recovery in commercial real estate revolve around the trend in credit standards and bankers' overall sentiment toward the sector. After reporting tightening credit and underwriting standards in surveys conducted in 2002 and 2003, bankers now indicate that those standards have not changed. Similarly, the survey found a movement toward bullishness about the sector from neutral sentiments reported since 2002. Within each major property sectormultifamily, retail, office, warehouse/industrial and lodgingthe majority of respondents foresee moderate performance in 2004. However, among all respondents, there was a bias toward moderate-to-strong performance for multifamily, retail and warehouse/industrial, versus a bias toward moderate-to-weak performance for office and lodging. In a notable shift in trend, the majority of bankers surveyed have become more cautious on retail properties and downgraded their outlook to moderate from strong. This suggests that bankers may have become more skeptical about the ability of consumers to continue to sustain economic growth as they have during the past two years. In another bullish sign for commercial real estate, loan demand is expected to be moderate to strong for all purposesconstruction, acquisition and value-added lending, as well as for mini-perms, according to the bankers surveyed. Bridger's Survey of Lenders' Commercial Real Estate Perspectives is conducted semiannually, and covers commercial real estate loan officers at banks nationwide. The results of the survey were tallied from responses by 75 different financial lodging institutions nationwide that on average hold more than $500 million in commercial real estate loans. For more information, visit www.bridgerfunding.com.
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