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(Updated March 2016)

Though both the U.S. and world economies remain in a somewhat precarious state, the commercial real estate market has shown incremental improvements since the economic collapse of the 2000s. Navigating the commercial real estate landscape often requires deft knowledge and skill, however the resources contained in this Field Guide will provide guidance and background on how to get started.  You’ll discover a variety of resources available to commercial practitioners, including efforts NAR is taking on Capitol Hill; commercial industry news and trends; profiles of commercial members; research reports; and much more. (K. Bartlett Walsh Senior Quality Assurance Coordinator)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.


Commercial Real Estate Industry/NAR Commercial Members

  • The National Association of REALTORS® Commercial Real Estate Outlook: 2016.Q1 report focuses on market performance in both large (LCRE) and small commercial (SCRE) sectors. The report provides an overview of economic indicators, investment sales and leasing fundamentals.
  • U.S. macroeconomic momentum dropped during the fourth quarter of 2015, buffeted by global economic slowdown and financial volatility.
  • Business investments took a step back, and the strong dollar impacted net exports. Payroll employment offered a bright spot, closing the year with a total of 2.7 million net new jobs, boosted by private service industries.
  • Rising employment drove demand for commercial space across the property spectrum.
  • Vacancies continued declining in the fourth quarter of 2015, as rising rents improved cash flows.

(Source: Commercial Real Estate Outlook, National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 25, 2016)

Primary Business Specialty of NAR's Commercial Members: 

  • Investment sales: 11%
  • Land sales: 8%
  • Commercial property management: 8%
  • Office leasing 7%
  • Industrial building sales: 5%
  • Retail building sales: 4%
  • Retail leasing: 4%
  • Office building sales: 3%
  • Industrial leasing:  3%
  • Development:  3%
  • Commercial appraisal:  3%
  • Consulting:  2%
  • Multi-family property management:  2%
  • Hospitality/resort sales:  1%
  • Commercial auctions:  0%
  • Other:  11%

(Source:  2015 NAR Commercial Member Profile, National Association of REALTORS®, June 15, 2015)

For more commercial market data, go to NAR's Commercial Research Page.

Commercial Real Estate: News and Trends

Cracks Emerging in Commercial Real Estate Market, (American Banker, Mar. 7, 2016). E

Commercial Partnerships are Destined to Fail, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Feb. 2016).

2016 Real Confidence Survey Reveals commercial Real Estate Lenders Are More Confident About Investing in the U.S. Economy Than Globally, (Marketwire, Feb. 29, 2016). E

Kingsley Releases Latest Report on Commercial Real Estate Trends, (Business Wire, Feb. 11, 2016). E

The Delicate Art of Rent Increases, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Feb. 2016).

Investors Lift Twin cities Commercial Real Estate Market, (Finance & Commerce, Jan. 27, 2016). E

Insulated From Volatility, (San Diego Business Journal, Jan. 25, 2016). E

Report Credits Grand Rapids With a ‘Great Turnaround’, (Grand Rapids Business Journal, Jan. 25, 2015). E

2015 Year in Review:  California and Orange County Economic Growth, (Orange County Business Journal, Jan. 11, 2016). E

Physical Retailers Aren’t Dead Yet, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Jan. 2016).

Office Optimism, (Mortgage Banking, Jan. 1, 2016). E

The Rate Hike, (Mortgage Banking, Jan. 1, 2016). E

Find Smart, Sexy, Somewhat Inexpensive Deals, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Jan. 2016).

REITS and Rates:  The Investor Landscape, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Dec. 2015).

A Social Media Plan for Commercial Pros, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Nov. 2015).

Resources for Gettin​g Started

The Source — a blog brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial Division

NAR Commercial on Facebook

Commercial Connections — NAR’s quarterly commercial real estate publication

CommercialSearch — for commercial property listings

The NAR's commercial team regularly hosts podcasts on a diversity of commercial topics. For the latest, check out the Commercial Podcasts.

NAR Education Matrix — courses in commercial real estate.

CCIM Institute — The CCIM Institute confers the CCIM designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) — The source for education, resources, information and membership for real estate management professionals.

Journal of Property Management  E

Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) — The leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association.

SIOR’s Professional Report Magazine

Commercial-Specific Resources from NAR and It’s Institutes, Societies and Councils

Commercial Home

Commercial Advocacy – learn more about NAR’s commercial real estate top priorities with the Issue Brief.  You can also download the latest Commercial Issues and Actions PDF.  You can also obtain in-depth information on the various commercial issues, including, Drones, Crowdfunding, Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges, and more.

Affiliate Organizations – details on the variety of Commercial Institutes, Societies and Councils.

Commercial Services – here you can download the new Commercial Services Handout with all of your REALTOR® Commercial Member Benefits, plus more.

Professional Development – grow our expertise through the learning opportunities and events offered by NAR and its commercial affiliate organizations.

Publications and Information – make sure your NRDS record is up-to-date and includes at least one commercial specialization in the “Field of Business” to ensure timely delivery of the commercial-related communications.

Research – take advantage of the commercial-focused research found online at www.realtor.org, including “Expectations and Market Realities in Real Estate,” “Commercial Real Estate Lending Survey,” and the “Commercial Real Estate Market Survey.”

Resources for AEs and Staff – want to form and official commercial structure or looking for funding to launch new programs.  This link will provide information to help you serve your board’s commercial members.

Technology and Data – access the variety of business tools and organizations that support your commercial success as part of your NAR membership.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Commercial Mortgages 101 (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Commercial Real Estate Investing (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Commercial Real Estate Investing in Canada (Adobe eReader)

Commercial Real Estate Investment (Adobe eReader)

The ABCs of Real Estate Investing (Kindle and Adobe eReader)

The Commercial Real Estate Revolution (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The complete guide to buying and selling apartment buildings (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The commercial real estate tsunami: a survival guide for lenders, owners, buyers and brokers, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011).

After the fall: opportunities and strategies for real estate investing in the coming decade, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009).

Commercial real estate investing: a creative guide to successfully making money, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008).

Field Guides & More

These Field Guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges

Field Guide to Commercial Property Management

Field Guide to Hotel/Motel Properties

Field Guide to Office Properties

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.