Conditions in the commercial and real estate markets remain weak according to a survey released today, although many in the industry are optimistic about future prospects.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia presented the First Quarter 2012 Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Survey at the Fairfield and Westchester County Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Outlook in Stamford.

He said the results reflected "what we see in general economic and credit surveys – slogging out of a tough hole."

Key findings:

  • Most respondents (53%) rated overall current market conditions in Connecticut as fair, while more than a third (38%) described them as poor. Only 9% said conditions are good, and no respondents characterized current conditions as excellent. When asked to predict overall market conditions statewide over the next three months, responses reflected a slightly more positive outlook, with 52% of respondents expecting fair conditions, 33% poor, and 15% good.
  • Just over half (52%) of respondents described market conditions in the retail sector as fair, while 27% rated them as poor. Nearly a quarter of respondents (21%) characterized retail-sector conditions as good, and 1% called them excellent. Respondents’ outlook for market conditions in the retail sector over the next three months was somewhat more positive, with 55% expecting fair conditions, 23% poor, and 22% good.
  • The office sector did not fare as well, with nearly half (49%) of those surveyed rating conditions as fair and 40% as poor. Eleven percent ranked conditions as good, with 1% describing them as excellent. Looking out three months, respondents were slightly more positive: 47% anticipate fair conditions, 37% poor, and 16% good. No respondents, however, foresee excellent conditions in the office sector over the next three months.
  • The investment sector saw the strongest numbers overall, with 45% of respondents describing conditions in that sector as fair and 30% as good. Only 23% saw conditions as poor, and 2% characterized them as excellent. Looking out three months, 53% foresee fair conditions, 27% good, 18% poor, and 2% excellent.

The survey was sponsored by Farmington Bank and O’Conner Davies Munns & Dobbins and conducted by CBIA, the Connecticut Economic Research Center (CERC), and DataCore Partners LLC.

It was conducted in February 2012, with 105 respondents and a margin of error +/-9.7%. The sample comprised a mix of commercial and industrial real estate professionals, 62% of whom were brokers.