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WASHINGTON, DC-The Mortgage Banker’s Assoc. reports continued erosion in real estate fundamentals–despite the so-called “green shoots” appearing in the economy. Property sales across the nation have plummeted to unforeseen depths–reaching $8.9 billion in Q1 2009. In Q1 2008, some $43.4 billion of commercial real estate traded hands; in Q1 2007 that number was $125.5 billion.

Unfortunately, MBA is not predicting a rapid turnaround. “While the pace of the economic slowdown appears to be easing, different aspects of commercial real estate and commercial real estate finance are feeling different levels and types of pressure,” it says in its Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Quarterly Data Book for the first quarter of 2009. MBA did not return a call to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

One of the few nods to a moderating economy in the report: the rate of decline for originations did slow in the first quarter, falling 26% from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, after falling by 65% between the third and fourth quarters of 2008.

Still, though, the overreaching finding is that across most markets and asset classes, decreased demand continues to significantly pressure both vacancies and asking rental rates. All together, more than 64 million square feet of excess space was added to the apartment market, 38 million square feet to the industrial market, 45 million square feet to office and 101 million square feet to retail.

Retail properties have seen the most dramatic impact–with vacancy rates climbing to 16.2% from 11.3% a year earlier. Still, though, MBA noted every major property type has seen vacancy rates climb by at least a percentage point.

Other dismal findings from Q1:

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