Jobs, global trade help buoy commercial real estate

Investment dollars rise 44% in 2005

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Rising demand for space is improving commercial real estate markets, and investment dollars flowed into commercial sectors at record levels in 2005, according to the latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook of the National Association of Realtors. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the fundamentals are solid. "Vacancy rates are declining in all of the major commercial sectors, and rents are rising at healthy rates," he said. "Job growth and international trade are fueling demand for space and facilities." NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said the flow of funds into commercial real estate is extraordinary. "Investment grade real estate has been changing hands at unprecedented rates, which demonstrates that the value of portfolio diversification into commercial real estate is being embraced strongly in the investment marketplace," said Stevens, senior vice president of NRT Inc. Investment in commercial real estate rose 44 percent in 2005 to a record $268 billion o...