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RETAILERS SELLING MORE AND MORE IS GOOD FOR REAL ESTATE. USA ECONOMY HAS RECOVERED? The federal government's fiscal crisis dominated economic news for much of the past couple of months. The 16-day shutdown of "nonessential" government services reflected severe political problems, but it ultimately had little impact on the wider economy. Despite a hit to government productivity—some agencies have lost a month to the shutdown and the need to address budget uncertainty—most US economic actors were not affected. The economy continues to grow at a moderate 2.0 percent underlying rate, and circumstances continue to point to an acceleration of growth in the medium term. The fundamentals of the US economy did not change before or after the fiscal crisis. US households still have much stronger balance sheets than they have had for many years. US businesses still have cash, and they will spend it once they see business picking up. The scary confidence numbers that came out in the weeks after the financial crisis told us little about actual behavior. The steep drop in consumer confidence in October was followed by a strong increase in retail sales in the next two months.
REAL ESTATE RECOVERING? Commercial property sales through December 2013, found that the recovery in U.S. commercial real estate markets advanced in 2013 as broad gains in net absorption, rents, sales activity and pricing extended across markets and property types during the year. The upbeat performance was driven by relatively steady economic growth and job gains of 2.3 million or 1.7% in 2013. During the year, expanding businesses accounted for the highest aggregate net absorption across all four major commercial property types since the recovery began. The increased demand for space, coupled with continued low construction levels (except for the multifamily property sector, which saw a notable increase in construction), vacancy rates fell across most markets at year-end 2013 from one year earlier, and the national average vacancy rate reached new cyclical lows in both the apartment and industrial sectors over the last year. With the cost of borrowing remaining low, this is all good news for owners of commercial property.
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