Three Cheers for Pessimism!

Is the commercial real estate market too optimistic?

Talk with some of the market’s pros—including top executives and brokers—and you will quickly encounter a common refrain: Things are bad, sure, but they’re getting better. “What we’re seeing is much more activity and interest,” said an exec this month at one of New York’s biggest brokerages.

But the evidence is scant and almost always anecdotal, and the statements of confidence usually bland and noncommittal. For now, the...

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