13% of loans could default in $90B debt wave: analysts

Roughly half of the CMBS loans left over from 2007 boom won't be easy to refinance when they mature

Jan.January 24, 2017 05:00 PM
5 Times Square and Scott Rechler (Credit: RXR and Getty Images)

From the New York website: Roughly half of the $90 billion worth of commercial mortgages left over from the 2007 lending boom won’t be easy to refinance when they mature, exposing the winners and losers of the real estate recovery.

Banks sold a record $250 billion worth of commercial mortgage-backed securities to institutional investors in 2007. That wall of maturities has been whittled down to about $90 billion as some borrowers paid off their loans early to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates.

Morningstar Credit Ratings estimates that half of the remaining loans will have difficulty refinancing, Bloomberg News reported. And S&P analysts predict that, in the best case scenario, roughly 13 percent of maturing real estate loans will default, up from 8 percent over the past two years.

“There are a lot of headwinds currently — with the interest-rate increase, with the new administration coming in, and also risk retention,” said S&P researcher Dennis Sim. “Those three wild-card factors could also play a role in how some of the better-performing loans are able to refinance or not.”

Better-performing loans, such as those on top-quality office properties, are considered less risky.

RXR Realty is close to landing a five-year loan to pay off $1 billion in debt that comes due in March at 5 Times Square, the headquarters for Ernst & Young that David Werner bought in 2014 for $1.5 billion.

“We are currently reviewing term sheets from a number of institutions and expect to settle on a lender within a week or so,” said RXR CEO Scott Rechler, whose firm acquired a 49 percent stake in the 39-story property shortly after Werner bought the building.

Retail properties and especially malls hit hard by e-commerce are expected to struggle the most. [Bloomberg]Rich Bockmann

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