during 2013. New homes sales rose 16. 7 percent over the year.
Existing home sales totaled 5. 1 million units, an 8. 9 percent increase
year-over-year, while home prices advanced 12.0 percent from 2012.
The Institute for Supply Management indexes for manufacturing and
services rose 0.6 percent on a yearly basis. As consumer confidence
rose 9. 2 percent over 2013, sales of motor vehicles surpassed the 15
million mark, not reached since 2007.
Payroll employment gained a net 2. 2 million new jobs during the
12-month period ending in December. Service industries were the
main beneficiaries, with 1. 9 million net new jobs. Professional and
business services accounted for 637,000 new positions, followed by
retail trade, which accounted for 381,000 new jobs. Education and
health services were the other major job creators adding a net 327,000
new jobs during 2013. Over the year, the unemployment rate declined
from 7. 9 percent in January to 6. 7 percent in December.
The GDP outlook for 2014 forecasts a stronger annual growth rate
of 2. 5 percent. Payroll employment is expected to rise by 2.0 to 2. 2
million. The unemployment rate could average 6. 5 percent for the
SIOR INDEX RESULTS
Office and industrial sectors found slightly different speeds in 2013.
The SIOR Commercial Real Estate Index, representing fourth quarter
2013 data, increased 2. 7 points. The national index, based on 10
variables pertinent to the performance of U.S. industrial and office
markets, closed at 96.4, the highest value since the fourth
quarter of 2007.
Bolstered by brisk international trade and positive consumer
spending, industrial markets posted solid demand for space
coupled with declining vacancies and rising rents. Based on
survey results, the industrial sector index rose 3. 9 points, to
a value of 103.0. An index value of 100 signals a balanced
market, meaning the industrial brokers are finding markedly
improving fundamentals. Office spaces found softer demand
as employment trends did not hit their stride. The office sector
declined 0.3 points to an index value of 85.7.
Commercial fundamentals were positive in the fourth quarter of
the year. Leasing and sales activity continued expanding during
the period. As 59 percent of SIOR members found leasing to
have either in line with or higher than long-term averages, 93
percent reported steady or rising rents. At the same time, 69
percent of respondents indicated lower vacancies for office
and industrial properties. The market is turning toward the
landlord, as concessions continued declining— 48 percent of
SIORs reported moderate to deep discounts on rent. Subleasing
availability also declined, with only 8 percent of SIORs
reporting ample sublease space.
New construction of office and industrial spaces registered an
uptick in the fourth quarter, with 15 percent of respondents