Cyclical Trends in Real Estate

Average U.S. commercial real estate prices fell by 40 percent between the 2007 peak and the trough in 2010, according to Alex Pollock of R Street. Since then, prices have rebounded and are now 22 percent above the 2007 peak in nominal terms (six percent higher than 2007 peak levels in inflation-adjusted terms). By comparison, inflation-adjusted prices in the housing market are at the 2004 level which was about two-thirds of the way to the 2007 peak.

Bank credit to the CRE industry has grown at over 7 percent per year in the last two years and is currently at $1.35 trillion – up $238 billion (21 percent) since the end of 2013.  On the residential side, growth in lending has been slower in part due to increased government regulation aimed at protecting homeowners from foreclosures and reforming capital markets in general. The result has been less liquidity in the housing sector and a lower rate of asset price inflation. Total residential mortgage loans were $2.45 trillion in 2012 and $2.41 trillion in the first quarter of this year with total mortgages outstanding (1-4 family) increasing only from $10.04 trillion to $10.33 trillion in the same period, according to the report.

CRE Prices (Nominal and Real) – Graph: R Street

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