Commercial real estate prices were down 1.2% on a monthly basis in September, according to a commercial real estate index maintained by Moody's Investors Service.The decline in the Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices could indicate the beginning of a downturn in commercial real estate values following the recent liquidity crunch, Moody's said. "We expect to see the increased cost and reduced availability of debt put further pressure on commercial property prices over the coming months," said Tad Philipp, a managing director at Moody's. In the third quarter, office and apartment properties in particular saw price declines of 0.5% and 1.0%, respectively, from price levels in the second quarter. However, prices in the industrial and retail sectors continued to rise, gaining 3.0% and 2.6%, respectively, in the third quarter. Moody's also reported some softening in transaction volume in September, when volume declined from the peak levels of last summer. The rating agency can be found online at http://www.moodys.com.

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