Commercial property values fell in September as the recession boosted the jobless rate and reduced demand for apartments and office and retail space.

The Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Price Indexes fell 3.9% from August, Moody's Investors Service Inc. said Thursday. Prices were down 37% from a year earlier and 43% below the peak in October 2007.

Office vacancies rose to a five-year high of 16.5% in the third quarter, according to the New York property research firm Reis Inc. Apartment vacancies hit a 23-year high, and mall vacancies were the highest since 1992.

"Further price declines are almost certain over the short term," Nick Levidy, a managing director at Moody's, said in a press release. "However, it is notable that the pace of deterioration appears to be moderating."

The delinquency rate for U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities rose to 4.01% at the end of October, Moody's said on Nov. 16. The rate was almost seven times what it was a year earlier, when delinquencies were 0.6%, according to Moody's, and the highest in records going back to 2001.

The unemployment rate in October rose to 10.2%, its highest since 1983, the Labor Department reported on Nov. 7.

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