Cautious optimism in the commercial real estate industry "has given way to a new type of exuberance," according to a survey by DLA Piper US LLP, an international law firm.The firm said 78% of the 274 top CRE executives who responded to the survey described their 12-month outlook for the U.S. commercial real estate market as "bullish," up from 43% in 2005. "The growing influence of private equity capital in the real estate markets is unmistakable, yet the overwhelming spike in optimism throughout the industry is surprising at a time when some industry experts fear that pricing may have peaked and there is new evidence of a slowdown in the U.S. economy," said Jay Epstien, chair of DLA Piper's U.S. real estate practice. "It is also interesting to note that the majority of executives believe the public-to-private consolidation trend, which has been dominated by many of the largest players in the industry, will create an abundance of opportunities for the smaller players, not just the large investors." The survey results were released in conjunction with the firm's 2007 Global Real Estate Summit in Chicago. DLA Piper can be found online at http://www.dlapiper.com.

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