Survey: Sector less optimistic about commercial real estate

“2012 real estate conditions are expected to remain relatively stable, with 50 per cent of respondents providing an entirely neutral outlook for the coming year,” according to the REALpac/FPL Canadian Real Estate Sentiment Survey, released last week and measuring the current and future outlook of 55 industry executives. “Eighty-seven percent of respondents report increased asset values from those of a year ago, though respondents expect asset values in 2012 to be much more stable.”

Billed as Canada's most comprehensive measure of senior executive confidence in the domestic commercial sector, the survey’s first quarter index reading came in at 61 out of a possible score of 100, slightly up from 60 last quarter but down from 71 one year ago.

A growing divide between respondents’ perceptions of the current market conditions and those in the future has started to emerge, scoring 64 and 58, respectively.

That reflects the expectation of a declining rate of market improvement, although does not, according to survey authors, reflect an expectation of decline.

That growing discrepancy between today and tomorrow’s commercial sector mirrors overall projections for the Canadian economy.

Analysts are anticipating that GDP growth in the last quarter of 2012 will come in just under the 2 per cent growth expected for all of last year.

That trend will likely carry over into this year and next, according to some economists, although most are waiting on official Q4 results due out this week.

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