To stay
on top of what’s happening in the commercial real estate industry, it helps to
be well versed in both real estate data and broader economic information. In
today’s Four on Friday, we pinpoint four sites that are indispensible sources
of such information. 

1) CoStar – The site is well known
throughout the commercial real estate sector and for good reason. In addition
to publishing boatloads of daily news about the industry, CoStar.com also posts
quarterly reports about how the commercial real estate markets in cities across
the United States are performing. The articles are short excerpts from longer
reports available only to CoStar subscribers and are written in a “Joe Friday, just
the facts” style that simply compares a market’s latest vacancy rates, asking
rents, etc., to those from an earlier point in time. The articles don’t provide
analysis of why the numbers increased or decreased, but are still invaluable
snapshots of how commercial real estate is faring in metro areas across the
nation.

2) Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
The Federal Reserve: it isn’t just for implementing monetary policy anymore.
The Research and the Economy section of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s website contains a bevy of economic information about
Georgia and the other five states – Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi
and Tennessee – in the Atlanta jurisdiction. The section provides regular
updates on such stats as payroll employment, sales tax revenue and business
confidence from each of the six states, and its analysts’ reports will keep you
firmly on top of the dynamics of the Southeastern economy.

3) U.S. Census Bureau – The Census
Bureau serves up an almost dizzying array of economic information, from the
latest on new single-family housing sales and construction starts to U.S.
manufacturers’ orders.

4) U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
– If you need the latest data on consumer spending, personal income and gross
domestic product, this is the site for you. Data is available on a national,
state and metropolitan-area basis. The site has a regularly updated blog that
provides a quick-and-easy way to stay on top of the latest economic news.

There
you have it: four sites that are invaluable sources of commercial real estate
and economic information. Have any other recommendations for us? Pipe up in the
comments thread, and let us know.