NAR: Economic softening hits leading commercial real estate index MortgagePress.comNAR, National Associaiton of Realtors, Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity, Lawrence Yun, market behavior The softening of economic conditions in recent months should impact commercial real estate markets in the months ahead, according to a forward-looking index for the commercial real estate sectors published by the National Association of Realtors. The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity slowed 0.9 percent to an index of 117.9 in the second quarter from a reading of 119.0 in the first quarter, and is 2.1 percent lower than the record 120.5 in the second quarter of 2007; NARs track of the index dates back to 1990. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said commercial real estate activity, as measured by net absorption and the completion of new commercial buildings, is projected to weaken over the next six to nine months. "The pace of decline has intensified due to job cuts and very sluggish economic activity since the beginning of the year, particularly in those industries requiring commercial building spaces," he said. "We anticipate the weakest commercial brokerage activity in nearly three years as a result." Members of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors indicate in their SIOR Commercial Real Estate Index, a separate attitudinal survey of approximately 600 local market experts, that they anticipate a lower level of business activity in the upcoming quarters. Analysis of the SIOR index implies that office and industrial market conditions are excellent for tenants and purchasers, but significantly less favorable for landlords and sellers. NARs commercial leading indicator is a tool to assess market behavior in the major commercial real estate sectors. That index incorporates 13 variables that reflect future commercial real estate activity, weighted appropriately to produce a single indicator of future market performance, and is designed to provide early signals of turning points between expansions and slowdowns in commercial real estate. The 13 series in the index are industrial production, the NAREIT (National Association of Real Estate Investment Trust) price index, NCREIF (National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) total return, personal income minus transfer payments, jobs in financial activities, jobs in professional business service, jobs in temporary help, jobs in retail trade, jobs in wholesale trade, initial claims for unemployment insurance, manufacturers durable goods shipment, wholesale merchant sales, and retail sales and food service. For more information, visit www.nar.org.