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Last week’s Quick Poll attempted to gauge the response readers were having to the current real estate market by asking, “What’s Your Fun Factor?” Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that it was business as usual, for better or worse. Twenty-eight percent claimed to thrive in times like these, while 25% said they hate down markets. Senior managing director of Florida for CB Richard Ellis, Bill Moss, shares his thoughts about the way Florida’s CRE market is dealing with the downturn.

“Down markets are predictable due to the cyclical nature of our business, so they shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Business is tougher now—you’ve got to work harder, deals take longer to get done, and there’s a higher fallout ratio. Deals that you think are going to happen don’t for a variety of reasons, mostly because of the state of capital markets.

“At the same time, I think there’s an opportunity to grow market share and position yourself for the market upturn that’s coming. I think this is an opportunity for people to thrive who are refusing to hang their heads based on the challenging environment which we’re dealing with right now. Those that take it as an opportunity to expand market share can end up being in a better position when things turn around than where they were a year ago.

“As for the ‘business as usual’ response to the poll question, at least to some degree that is true for the state of Florida. Businesses are getting back to fundamentals they may have strayed from in the past. Right now there is more of a focus on high levels of client service and working on and trying to identify high probability opportunity.

“The sales transactions activity is where the biggest slowdown has taken place, in all property lines. There is a significant amount of vacant land on the market that isn’t moving. Also, leasing activity has slowed, but on a percentage basis not as much as sales throughout the state.

“We’ll come out of this and be fine, but 2008 is going to be a bumpy year.”

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