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BOCA RATON, FL-Gone are the days when REITs would rush to buy just about any piece of investment real estate offered. In their wake came deal-hungry institutional pension funds.

Since about the first of this year, however, brokers like Peter Filomena, vice president in charge of investment sales at Trammell Crow Co.’s regional office here, have been bumping into the kind of market equilibrium that tends to lengthen the negotiating process.

“Buyers will buy if it’s a good deal, and sellers will sell if they get their price,” Filomena says. But with mostly healthy commercial occupancy levels at steadily rising rents in much of the tri-county marketplace, property owners tend to be less interested in selling unless they get offers too good to reject.

Filomena tells GlobeSt.com that not only does it now take as long as 10 months from inception of a substantial deal to closing, versus maybe three to five months as recently as a year ago, but the way properties are marketed has changed. For example, Trammell Crow is now offering two relatively new office buildings in Weston totaling 147,000 sf of class A space.

Rather than attach a specific asking price to the package, the firm has put it up for grabs among a likely contingent of prospective buyers. It’s not unlike an eBay auction but it is far more complicated.

When product does come on the sales market, it is usually the result of portfolio adjustments dictated by strategic internal decisions. One such case is America’s Capital Partners, which, after reviewing its local holdings, put a number of them up for sale. Two sold, including the Design Center of the Americas on Griffin Road in Dania Beach. But another three properties in Broward County and three in Miami-Dade County that had been on the market for months were withdrawn when a pending deal fell apart.

Similarly, West Palm Beach developer Bruce Rendina, who earlier this year bought a $200 million package of mostly medical office buildings from Meditrust, is now seeking to shed the non-medical product. Commercial Property Realty Advisors of Fort Lauderdale is marketing the Atrium Office Park in Plantation and Boca Hamptons Plaza in Boca Raton.

Industry sources say that even owners who would entertain selling to capture the equity buildup in a prized holding are reluctant to do so. In order to avoid high capital gains taxes on their profits, they would have to reinvest in other properties. And in today’s market, there just isn’t all that much out there.

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