Past Indexes and Understanding the Index

Past Indexes


The NAIOP CRE Sentiment Survey is conducted biannually, in March and September. The survey is sent to roughly 10,500 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 NAIOP CRE 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 of the participants chose the most pessimistic response to every question, the index would be 0.

The March 2020 survey was fielded to a broader range of NAIOP members than past surveys. It included new questions that allow for comparisons between developers or building owners and non-developer respondents (building managers, brokers, analysts, consultants, lenders, non-developer investors and other commercial real estate professionals) and comparisons in sentiment between practitioners who specialize in different property types (office, industrial, retail, multifamily).

Cross tabulations of the survey results revealed very few 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. The survey also included new questions evaluating sentiment about conditions that are not included in the composite sentiment index score.

Some individual questions were slightly reworded from past surveys to accommodate non-developer respondents, but the core meaning of each question that comprises the NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index remained the same. To make easier comparisons between responses to individual questions and the composite index score, NAIOP converted all results to a 100-point scale.

A total of 439 distinct companies are represented in this survey. Product types owned/under development by respondents broke out to roughly 21% office, 50% industrial, 5% retail and 25% multifamily; western regions were slightly more represented than eastern regions, followed by the South and 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 March 11 and March 25, 2020. The response rate for this survey was 5.92%, and the margin of error for the composite index score was 4.02%.

The statistical methodology for the NAIOP CRE 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 NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index, please contact Shawn at

NAIOP Sentiment Index
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