Past Indexes and Understanding the Index

Past Indexes


The NAIOP Sentiment Index is designed to predict general conditions in the commercial real estate industry over the next 12 months by asking industry professionals to predict conditions for their own projects and markets. The NAIOP CRE Sentiment Survey is conducted biannually, in March/April and August/September. The survey is sent to roughly 8,500 NAIOP members in the U.S. who are developers, building owners, building managers, brokers, analysts, consultants, lenders and investors in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily sectors. It asks questions about jobs, space markets, construction costs, capital markets and other conditions for real estate development. The questions that comprise the Sentiment Index are not equally weighted. Instead, weighting varies based on whether responses to a question are tightly packed or dispersed. Questions with tightly packed responses (meaning there is more consistency among the answers to that question) are more heavily weighted than those with more dispersed responses (which indicate less consistency).

If every participant in the survey selected the most optimistic answer to every question, the index would be 100. Conversely, if all the participants chose the most pessimistic response to every question, the index would be 0. The survey includes questions that evaluate sentiment about conditions that are not included in the composite sentiment index score but are measured separately on a 100-point scale.

A cross-tabulation of the April survey results by respondent profession revealed only four differences that were both observable (at least one point apart on a 100-point scale) and statistically significant. Differences that were not observable or statistically significant are not reported in this analysis. Unlike the March 2020 survey, NAIOP did not cross-tabulate results by respondent property sector specialization, as the question used to identify this specialization measures projected development or transactional activity over the next 12 months. Given a sharp decline in retail and office activity, this question is less predictive of a respondent’s property type specialization than in normal market conditions.

A total of 407 respondents from 342 distinct companies participated in this survey. When individuals were asked what property types they worked on, 75.4% indicated they work on industrial properties, 70.2% work on office properties, 48.3% work on retail properties and 44.6% work on multifamily properties. A regional breakdown shows that 48.0% of respondents are active in the West, 45.3% are active in the East, 39.7% are active in the South and 29.3% are active in the Midwest.

Survey participants receive a summary of results showing the percentage breakdown of responses to each question after the survey closes. This report is released to all NAIOP members and the public three to four weeks later. Survey responses for this index were gathered between April 13 and April 22, 2021. The response rate for this survey was 4.94%, and the margin of error for the composite index score was 4.85%.

The statistical methodology for the Sentiment Index was originally developed by Tom Hamilton, Ph.D., MAI, CCIM, CRE, the Gerald Fogelson Distinguished Chair of Real Estate in the Chicago School of Real Estate at Roosevelt University. The survey data was collected by NAIOP, and the survey questions were created, refined and finalized between 2014 and 2020 with the assistance of several NAIOP Distinguished Fellows. NAIOP’s Director of Research, Shawn Moura, Ph.D., authored the current edition of the survey and this summary analysis. For questions about the CRE Sentiment Index, please contact Shawn at

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NAIOP Sentiment Index