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Projected real estate returns take optimistic turn

Commercial real estate experts increased their return expectations for the asset class in 2014, according to the latest Pension Real Estate Association Consensus Forecast. The average forecast return for the NCREIF Property index in 2014 is 8.7%, up from 7.9% in the prior quarter's survey. Return expectations for 2015 were little changed at 7.7%.

Forecast returns in 2014 were revised upward for all property types. Industrial properties are expected to return 10% this year, up from 8.7% three months ago. Retail followed at 8.5% (from 7.8% last forecast), while office and apartments are expected to return 8.2% (from 7.7%) and 8% (from 7.6%), respectively.

PREA's survey includes return estimates from investment managers, advisers and researchers in U.S. property markets.