Akerman Senterfitt Survey Indicates Improving Economic Conditions Behind Rising Hopes for Real Estate Market in 2012

MIAMI — March 15, 2012 — A survey of senior real estate executives at the third annual Akerman U.S. Real Estate Summit revealed that more than three-fourths (82 percent) of respondents expressed greater confidence and an improved outlook for the industry, a 6 percent increase over last year, with 50 percent citing the improving U.S. economy as the primary driver for their optimism.

There was broad consensus among survey respondents that the multifamily sector would be the most active in terms of the number of real estate transactions, foreign investment and return to pre-recession development levels in 2012.

“The Akerman U.S. Real Estate Summit has emerged as one of the marquee events for the real estate industry, providing a platform for thought leaders and top executives in the industry to share their knowledge, insights and perspectives,” said Richard Bezold, Akerman National Real Estate Practice Group Chair. “The outlook for the commercial real estate industry in 2012 is bright, but the recent recovery is still tenuous, and could be dampened by a range of factors, including the continued uncertainty in Europe, persistent restraints on debt and equity financing and the threats to the health of the U.S. economy due to rising energy costs.”

Respondents cite the policies of the current administration (38 percent) and global economic uncertainty (30 percent) as the reasons for a lack of confidence in the industry’s outlook for 2012.

Most respondents (43 percent) cite availability of credit as the most pressing issue facing the real estate industry right now. However, that number is actually down 10 percent from 2011. The belief that uncertainty of government policy is the number one concern for the industry has doubled to 25 percent this year.

Other notable survey findings include:

44 percent of respondents expect private equity to fund a significant portion of commercial real estate debt and/or equity in 2012, up slightly (6 percent) from last year.

32 percent expect banks to fund a significant portion of commercial real estate debt and/or equity in 2012, a nearly three-fold increase from only 8 percent in 2011.

29 percent expected foreign investors to fund a significant portion of commercial real estate debt and/or equity in 2012, a 37 percent drop from 45.7 percent in 2011.

The survey included the responses of 150 senior executives representing all aspects of industry leadership including asset managers, builders and developers, REITs, regional and national lenders, and private investors.

The day-long Akerman Summit took place at the J.W. Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami, and featured several discussions on the latest industry trends and issues affecting investment in real estate in the United States. Some of the nation’s top real estate executives and political figures addressed the gathering through various discussion groups and individual presentations, offering insights on the challenges still affecting the industry, the state of the global markets, the potential impact of state and federal elections on the industry, as well as opportunities presenting value for investors. More than 25 speakers and discussion leaders participated, including Thomas Sittema, CEO of CNL Financial Group; Vincent Signorello, president of Flagler; Armando Codina, chairman & CEO, Codina Partners; Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey; and Alex Sink, former chief financial officer of Florida.

Complete details of the Akerman Summit, including a list of speakers, discussion leaders and topics, can be found at www.akerman.com/events/RES12. Updates and highlights from the Akerman Summit are also available on Twitter via @akerman_law with the hashtag #AkermanRES12.