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WASHINGTON, DC-Despite the seizure in the debt markets, there is plenty to be positive about in the commercial real estate industry, according to a Real Estate Roundtable report from its 2008 State of the Industry meeting. For starters, while the financial markets may be in turmoil, unlike previous industry downturns, fundamentals remain solid for commercial real estate. Furthermore, overseas investors are expected to shore up many domestic markets, thanks to their own solid footing and favorable exchange rates.

The report, called Leading the Enterprise 2008, is a summary of the responses of nearly 200 CEOs and other senior executives in real estate and related industries. The Real Estate Roundtable and FPL Advisory Group sponsored the report.

Despite the dismal headlines, the majority surveyed had positive views of the industry: 69% of executives who were surveyed forecast increases in revenues in 2008 and 71% expect profitability to increase. The numbers are down from a survey conducted one year ago, when 85% of respondents predicted increased revenue and 80% predicted profit growth–but the optimistic consensus is clear, says reports author, William Ferguson, FPL’s co-chairman.

“While we’re seeing a more cautious approach to enterprise management in 2008, new opportunities are opening up due to industry globalization, which presents new areas of investment for US capital while also attracting foreign equity capital to our shores,” Ferguson says. “Many Leading the Enterprise respondents were buoyed by the continued flow of equity capital in new and existing markets, as well as the prospects of assuming market share left by weaker competitors, and new technological advances that are improving cost management and customer communication. They also expressed enthusiasm for the growing trend toward environmentally sustainable development.”

Real Estate Roundtable president and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer says the worst damage from the market turmoil has been to investor confidence. “The economic foundation of today’s institutional-grade commercial property market is sound, and the industry is prepared to work with lawmakers at all levels of government on policies that will best stimulate economic growth.”

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