"Investors, sellers in stalemate" - Commercial real estate article for Miami Herald

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By Rochelle Broder-Singer | 5/12/2008

Sales of commercial real estate have fallen sharply in the past year. Just like the residential market, investors aren't finding the bargains they expect given the economy, yet sellers aren't ready to cut prices.

It's a ''stalemate,'' said Stephen Bittel, chairman of Miami Beach-based real estate services and investment firm Terranova.

During the six months ending in April, $1.8 billion of industrial, office and retail property closed -- down 59 percent from the same period a year ago, reports Real Capital Analytics.

Broward sales of retail property fell the most, down 85 percent during the six months ending in April, compared to the previous year. In Miami-Dade, sales of retail property were cut nearly in half. Office sales were down by 61 percent in Miami-Dade and by 14 percent in Broward. Industrial property sales in Miami-Dade were down 48 percent, but up by 96 percent in Broward. 

Trends affecting each sector:

Office: Investors are looking ahead to the 1.8 million square feet of new office space planned for MiamiDade and wondering how much rent will grow over the next few years.

Retail: Miami-Dade is boosted by international tourism -- South Beach stores are hot -- but generally consumers are spending less, and major retailers are halting expansion plans.

Industrial: People in Latin America and the Caribbean are buying more goods that come from South Florida's warehouses and distribution centers, but companies that stored material for the local construction industry have less need for space. 

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