Wednesday, 27 June 2012

State commercial real estate surges

Connecticut's commercial real estate conditions are on the upswing, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The Farmington Bank/ODMD Commercial Real Estate Index, released quarterly, doubled in the most recent survey compared with levels of a year ago. The second-quarter survey showed confidence in the state's commercial real estate market at the highest level since data were first tracked in 2010.

"The fact that the 'future expectations' component is now outpacing readings on the current commercial real estate picture is seen as a bullish sign for the local market," said Peter Gioia, vice president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

The "current conditions" component of the survey was recorded as 19.7 in the second quarter, up from 17.8 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, "future expectations" drew a reading of 24.3, up from 21.6 in the first part of the year.

Only 12 percent of survey respondents said Connecticut's economy could be rated "good" or "excellent" today.

Twenty percent, though, thought the economy would be hitting its stride in the third quarter.

The report pointed out that a decline in consumer spending so far in 2012 could put the damper on retail sales going forward. Only 19 percent of people polled found the current retail climate in Connecticut "good" or "excellent."

Meanwhile, a sluggish demand for labor statewide has resulted in hiring stagnation, according to the report.

"Employers seem to be adopting a 'wait and see' approach to permanent future hires given the heightened level of overall economic uncertainty," the report said. Only 7 percent of poll respondents characterized economic conditions overall as being rosy.

While exports have helped prop up the state's economy recently, the report warned that economic problems resulting from Europe's fiscal crisis could affect businesses going forward.

The survey was based on 86 respondents, including real estate professionals and economic-development experts from around the state.

Four key areas were considered: office, industrial, retail and investment real estate.

"Levels of consumer confidence and business confidence, as well as job growth, will be instrumental in determining the path of overall economic activity as we move through the balance of 2012," said Bruce Blasnik, a partner in the accounting firm O'Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins of Stamford, in a statement.


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