WASHINGTON, DC-The Real Estate Roundtable’s latest quarterlySentiment Survey points to a leveling off of property valuationsdecline--and an easing of the painfully tight credit marketconditions of the last two years.

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Of the 100-plus senior real estate executives participating inthe survey, 82% characterized market conditions today as betterthan a year ago--up from 73% in Q1--although only 17% saidconditions are "much better." The "Current Conditions" index nowstands at 74.

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There is talk that the commercial real estate market may havefinally reached bottom, Jeff DeBoer, head of the Roundtable, saidin a prepared statement. "But while sentiment is up, that’s not tosay things are good. Refinancing remains difficult for many, anddefaults are still rising, which means more pain ahead," he said.DeBoer was unable to speak with GlobeSt.com in time forpublication.

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Another sign that the industry is leveling off, according to thesurvey: only 28% of those polled perceived asset prices today aslower than they were a year ago, compared with 57% in the previousquarter.

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Other findings from the survey:

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• 56% expect valuations to be "somewhat higher" a year from nowand 35% expect them to remain "about the same," compared to 42% and35%, respectively, in the previous survey.

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• Meanwhile, the percentage who expect values to be "somewhatlower" in a year dropped from 19% last quarter to 6% in the latestsurvey.

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• Of the 65% that said debt capital is more available today thanone year ago, 27% characterized availability as "much better." Bycontrast, only 19% of Q1 survey participants felt conditions were"much better" than one year earlier.

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• As for equity side, 76% said availability is better than oneyear ago (with 26% characterizing it as "much better"). However,the number of respondents predicting conditions will be better "oneyear from today" declined from 75% in Q1 to 66% in Q2, with acorresponding increase in the number who expect equity availabilityto remain "about the same."

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Erika Morphy

Erika Morphy has been writing about commercial real estate at GlobeSt.com for more than ten years, covering the capital markets, the Mid-Atlantic region and national topics. She's a nerd so favorite examples of the former include accounting standards, Basel III and what Congress is brewing.