The Commercial Real Estate Lending Survey is conducted annually and provides an overview of lending conditions that impact commercial transactions nationally, based on responses from commercial real estate members.
The economy is off to a reasonably good start in 2013, in the wake of a moderately positive performance during 2012. The first quarter gross domestic product expanded by 2.5 percent. The year-end brought closure to several sources of uncertainty. The presidential election provided a degree of clarity over the next four year's administration. The "fiscal cliff" uncertainty was solved by allowing some provisions to revert to normal (the payroll tax returning to 6.2 percent), and allowing the "sequestration" cuts to move forward. Housing continued to rebound, with housing starts recording a 27 percent gain for the year while new home sales rose 20 percent from 2011. Existing home sales grew by 9 percent during the year, with shrinking inventories driving up prices of existing homes.
Commercial real estate recorded a year of growth and expansion. Fundamentals strengthened throughout the year, with declining vacancies and rising rents. The apartment sector was the bright star, as office and industrial spaces found favorable conditions. With a strengthening foundation, investment sales found a higher ledge on their climb from the depths of the 2008-09 Great Recession.