According to a release from New York City-based REAL, the indexhas now declined 19.1% year-over-year and is off 21% from itsOctober 2007 peak of 191.87. The January index of 151.58 followedthe December '08 index of 160.46, and is roughly equal to the April'05 level of 151.29. The index has not fallen below 160 since Julyof '05.

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"While it is unsettling to see the sharp deterioration ofcommercial real estate values, the CPPI continues to perform as anaccurate and timely benchmark for the asset class," says NealElkin, president of REAL, in a release. He adds that the Januarydrop-off reveals that "declines are accelerating and permeating allregions and property types."

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REAL began compiling the monthly index, which is derived fromReal Capital Analytics transaction data, in December 2000. Thatmonth's index of 100 has served as the baseline for monthlyincreases or decreases. The index rose steadily until October '07and began declining each month thereafter except for February andSeptember '08.

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The month-to-month declines recorded in the Moody's/REAL indexfollow the news in late December that the Standard & Poor's/GRACommercial Real Estate Indices showed back-to-back annual pricesdeclines for only the second time in the S&P index's15-year history. At that time, David Blitzer, managing director atS&P, commented, "Overall, the data are not pointing to oneclear direction in commercial real estate prices. We cannot tell ifthis is just a temporary pause in the decline of commercial realestate prices or have we reached the bottom and a turnaround isimminent."

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Unlike the Moody's/REAL All Property Type Aggregate Index, whichis measured monthly, national and regional data by property typeare measured on a quarterly basis. Changes in those indices, ifany, will be reported in May, according to REAL.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.