The Mortgage Bankers Association's second-quarter data book on commercial real estate showed an uptick in commercial loan originations. Yet high unemployment, coupled with disappointing gross domestic product and building transaction totals, tempered any enthusiasm.

Sage Policy Group CEO Anirban Basu notes that one of the biggest problems plaguing the commercial market is the excess supply of space in an economy that's lost over 7 million jobs, and continues to lose jobs at a feverish rate.

MBA's research supports that statement, as U.S. retail property vacancy rates rose to 17.6 percent in the second quarter and office vacancies topped 18.5 percent -- the highest rate in more than six years.

Meanwhile, the MBA's Origination Index dipped during the first three months of 2009 to the lowest level in its eight-year history.

Source: New Orleans City Business (10/12/09)