SPECIAL REPORT: Experts Forecast Stronger Market Conditions Despite Weak Job Growth

New York--Companies may finally be feeling comfortable enough again to begin to play a strong role in supporting the economy.

New York–Companies may finally be feeling comfortable enough to begin to play a strong role in supporting the economy. According to Ben Breslau, director of Americas research at Jones Lang LaSalle, private investment will replace government spending as a major driver of economic growth in 2011.

Breslau was speaking this week at a webcast that provided forecasts of conditions for commercial real estate in 2011. The webcast was sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle. Breslau noted the presence of greater optimism among CEOs, easing credit conditions, and the large amounts of cash held by corporations. He said, however, that unemployment levels will stay elevated next year in the 8.5 to 9.0 percent range through the end of 2011. Breslau predicts GDP next year will be at the same level as 2010, in the 2.0 to 2.5 percent range.

Josh Gelormini, director of Capital Markets Research, at Jones Lang LaSalle, said that the multifamily sector, which appeared to have bottomed in 2009, saw a “convincing” recovery in market fundamentals this year. He noted that after the job market stabilized in late 2009, apartment vacancies peaked and rents bottomed in 2010.

With job prospects improving, more Echo Boomers will seek rental housing of their own, Gelormini said. He sugested the turmoil in the single-family housing sector and robust demographic growth will also contribute to the recovery in the apartment sector despite the continuing weakness in employment growth. The positive trends that will boost the apartment industry will continue through 2011, Gelormini predicted.

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