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SAN FRANCISCO-Commercial real estate investors, brokers and owners are less confident about a near-term recovery than they were a few months ago, according to an informal poll this month of members of LoopNet, an online commercial real estate marketplace based in San Francisco. Approximately 1,000 members responded to the poll, which asked when the CRE prices will hit bottom if they haven’t already, when the market will recover, and what the biggest barriers to a recovery are?

When the same questions were posed in July 2009, 66% of respondents expected the volume of commercial real estate transactions to rebound in 2010, with the remainder predicting it wouldn’t increase until 2011 or later. This month, 50% are still holding out hope for a recovery in the second half of 2010 while the other half now predicts 2011 or 2012, with 20% predicting 2012. Broken down by respondent, investors were slightly more pessimistic, with their median expectation for the timing of a recovery running one quarter behind that of brokers or commercial property owners.

As for whether CRE prices have hit bottom, a majority of all three groups said they had not bottomed out. In July, 52% of respondents expected to see future declines of 11% or more. This month, that number is more or less unchanged, with 53% still expecting future declines of 11% or more, suggesting that future expectations of cash flow and value have continued to deteriorate (or at best remain uncertain). Owners were the most optimistic, with 20% believing prices had already bottomed out. The most common prediction for when prices would hit bottom was the second quarter of 2010 but more than 10% said it wouldn’t occur until 2012.

Not surprisingly, respondents listed the biggest barriers to a recovery as a lack of debt financing followed by high asking prices. Of course, owners considered high asking prices less of an issue than the others.

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