WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. commercial real estate activity in the third quarter rose for the first time in more than two years but is still sharply down from a year earlier, a real estate trade group said on Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors said its Commercial Leading Indicator for brokerage activity index rose 0.9 percent from the prior quarter's fifteen-year low to 102.4, the first rise since the second quarter of 2007. Still, the index is 11.1 percent below the 115.3 reading in the third quarter of last year.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said gains in industrial production, durable goods shipments and retail sales contributed to the modest recovery in the past quarter.
Yun said that the outlook for commercial real estate remains uncertain.
"Credit availability needs to significantly rebound for any hope of a meaningful commercial recover in 2010," Yun said.
The realtors said they expected vacancy rates for office space to rise to 18.5 percent in the third quarter of next years, up from 16.9 percent in third quarter 2009.
Separately, the Mortage Bankers Association said delinquency rates of mortgages on one-to-four unit residential properties in the United States rose to 9.64 percent in the third quarter of 2009, the highest on records going back to 1972.
The realtors expect vacancy rates on one-to-four unit residential properties to rise to 7.9 percent in the second quarter of next year. Multi-family vacany rates were 7.3 percent in the third quarter.
Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio