Investors have snapped up $1.2 billion for 163 commercialproperties in 2000, shows a report by Brad Neiman, senior managingdirector of Denver-based Mile High Properties LLC. It's the fourthconsecutive year that sales of office buildings, retail stores andindustrial properties have topped $1 billion.

But this year's dollar volume has dropped 22% from the $1.57billion sold last year and the number of transactions have declined19% from the 201 sales in 1999, according to Neiman. He has beentracking commercial investment sales of more than $1 million formore than 15 years.

Sales activity had peaked in 1998, when REITs went on a buyingspree, driving up sales to a record $2.36 billion. Today, sales aremore than double than they were in 1995, when they stood at $569million. Since 1990, investors have paid slightly more than $10.5billion for commercial real estate. Of that, almost $6.5 billionhas been paid since 1997.

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