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Commercial real estate price recovery slows

The rebound in commercial property prices slowed over the first three months of 2012, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service and Real Capital Analytics.

Prices gained more than 28% since the low point in January 2010, recovering nearly half the peak-to-trough decline since the credit crisis struck in 2007. But prices increased just 1.8% in the first quarter.

"The increased cost and decreased availability of capital markets debt in the wake of ongoing euro area sovereign stress has filtered its way into the prices of recently closed transactions," analysts said in the report released Thursday.

Moody's and RCA base the study on completed sales of the same commercial properties over time.

Apartments led the way out of the crisis and increased 18% over the past year, compared to a 10% gain in the core commercial properties. Since the crisis struck, apartment prices increased 40% compared to a combined 23.7% increase in other core sectors.

Rents and occupancy levels are up, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to provide plenty of support for the multifamily sector, allowing it to gain at a quicker pace, analysts said.

The report also highlighted a contrast between major markets and mid-markets. Since the low point, prices increased 37.5% in the largest U.S. cities, compared to a 21.4% gain in mid-sized areas.

That changed in the first quarter. Prices only increased 0.9% in the largest metros, compared to a 2.5% gain in mid-tier cities.

jprior@housingwire.com

@JonAPrior

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