4Q commercial leading indicator remains high.

Position:Commercial - Brief article

Following seven consecutive quarters of steady increases, commercial real estate activity held to its highest level on record during the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors[R] (NAR), Chicago.

NAR's Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity rose 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter to a level of 120.1 from an index of 120 in the third quarter--1.8 percent above the fourth quarter of 2005, when it stood at 118.1.

Growth in the commercial real estate sectors appears to be reaching a plateau, according to NAR Chief Economist David Lereah.

"Our commercial leading indicator is at a record high, but it is now leveling out," Lereah said. "The rate of expansion has been fairly tame over the last three quarters, which means that growth in commercial real estate sectors is likely to be modest."

After respectable growth in 2005 and 2006, Lereah said the slight rise in the index means net absorption of space in the industrial and office sectors should be fairly steady over the next six to nine months, with modestly higher completions...

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