Prices of US shopping malls may return to 2003 or 2004 levels as consumer spending and the commercial real estate market recover, Simon Property Group Chief executive David E Simon said. That would represent a decline of as much as 23%.

Simon, the biggest U.S. shopping mall owner, has $3.8 billion on its balance sheet and is looking at possible acquisitions, Simon said in an interview in New York.

'There is still a decent bid and ask difference between the buyer and the seller,' Simon said. 'I think the sellers’ expectations certainly have gone down from where we were at the end of ‘07, early part of ‘08.' Prices may go 'back to the ‘03, ‘04 period of time, somewhere in that range.'

Sales of retail properties in the U.S. fell 71% in the first half of the year, to $3.6bn, according to New York-based research company Real Capital Analytics Inc.