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ATLANTA-A bright spot of news has come out right before the long holiday weekend. Research of corporate real estate users conducted by CoreNetGlobal shows those users are far more optimistic than they were last year at this time, or even six months ago.

In a survey of 125 senior executives across a variety of sectors in Asia, Europe and the US, 19% of those surveyed acknowledged they were contracting their businesses, and 54% said they were in outright growth mode. This is a change from April 2009 results, which showed 30% of executives pointing to contraction and 41% showing growth.

“The rest of them showed flat growth,” says Richard Kadzis, director of marketing communications for CoreNetGlobal. “Flat is the new up.”

When queried about real estate operating budget changes compared to 2008, 34% indicated there would be no change, whereas 46% said there would be a decline in the operating budget. Both numbers are an increase from April 2009′s figures, which pointed to 19% of those surveyed indicating changes to the budget and 55% stating there would be a decline in the budget. Though capital expenditure is down from August 2008, there has been an uptick in continued plans for such expenditures; from 10% in April 2009 to 13% in October 2009.

A year and several weeks after the financial meltdown, realism has set in, and corporate executives are dealing with it. “A year ago at this time, we were looking at the first realization of Black October,” Kadzis tells GlobeSt.com. “It took about 30 days or so to bleed into the harsh reality that there was something terribly wrong here.” Following that was the decline in commercial real estate transactions and leases, combined with what Kadzis called the “corporate freeze,” during which corporate executives froze, like a deer in the headlights.

The result was that companies went into survival mode, boosting efficiency through cost-cutting. “People did a good job of managing to the moment and are seeing positive results from those extreme actions,” Kadzis says. This is likely why the research is showing signs of cautious optimism, he adds.

There was one down note, however; the corporate users believe now that the recession is likely to last into 2011 or even 2012. “Awhile ago, we thought 2010 would be the year, now more people are putting faith in 2011,” Kadzis explains. Not that 2010 will be the bloodbath of 2009 however. “It’ll be a holding-your-own year,” Kadzis predicts.

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