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A $1.5 trillion wall of debt looming for US commercial properties

Bloomberg has calculated a wall of $US1.5 trillion of commercial property debt is due to roll over in the next 20 months, just when banks have lost their appetite for funding such debt.

Tuesday, April 11th 2023, 9:08AM

by Sally Lindsay

The big question facing those borrowers is who’s going to lend to them?

“Refinancing risks are front and centre” for owners of properties from office buildings to stores and warehouses, Morgan Stanley analysts say.

The investment bank estimates office and retail property valuations could fall as much as 40% from peak to trough, increasing the risk of defaults.

Adding to the headache, small and regional banks — the biggest source of credit to the industry last year — have been rocked by deposit outflows following the demise of Silicon Valley Bank, raising concerns that will crimp their ability to provide finance to borrowers.

The wall of debt is set to get worse before it gets better. Maturities climb for the coming four years, peaking at $550 billion in 2027, according Morgan Stanley.

Banks also own more than half of the agency commercial mortgage-backed securities — bonds supported by property loans and issued by US government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae — increasing their exposure to the sector.

“The role that banks have played in this ecosystem, not only as lenders but also as buyers,” will compound the wave of refinancing coming due, Morgan Stanley says.

Amid the gloom, there are some slivers of good news. Conservative lending standards in the wake of the financial crisis provide borrowers, and in turn their lenders, with some degree of protection from falling values.

Almost $1.5 trillion of US commercial real estate debt comes due for repayment before the end of 2025. The big question facing those borrowers is who’s going to lend to them?

“Refinancing risks are front and center” for owners of properties from office buildings to stores and warehouses, Morgan Stanley analysts including James Egan wrote in a note this past week. “The maturity wall here is front-loaded. So are the associated risks.”

The investment bank estimates office and retail property valuations could fall as much as 40% from peak to trough, increasing the risk of defaults.

Adding to the headache, small and regional banks — the biggest source of credit to the industry last year — have been rocked by deposit outflows following the demise of Silicon Valley Bank, raising concerns that will crimp their ability to provide finance to borrowers.

The wall of debt is set to get worse before it gets better. Maturities climb for the coming four years, peaking at $550 billion in 2027, according to the MS note. Banks also own more than half of the agency commercial mortgage-backed securities — bonds supported by property loans and issued by US government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae — increasing their exposure to the sector.

“The role that banks have played in this ecosystem, not only as lenders but also as buyers,” will compound the wave of refinancing coming due, the analysts wrote.

Rising interest rates and worries about defaults have already hurtCMBS deals. Sales of the securities without government backing fell about 80% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Amid the gloom, there are some slivers of good news. Conservative lending standards in the wake of the financial crisis provide borrowers, and in turn their lenders, with some degree of protection from falling values, the analysts wrote.

Sentiment toward multifamily housing also remains much more positive as rents continue to rise, one reason why Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust had a positive return in February even as rising numbers of investors lodge withdrawal requests. The availability of agency-backed loans will help owners of those properties when they need to refinance.

“The role that banks have played in this ecosystem, not only as lenders but also as buyers,” will compound the wave of refinancing coming due, the analysts wrote.

Rising interest rates and worries about defaults have already hurtCMBS deals. Sales of the securities without government backing fell about 80% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Amid the gloom, there are some slivers of good news. Conservative lending standards in the wake of the financial crisis provide borrowers, and in turn their lenders, with some degree of protection from falling values, the analysts wrote.

Sentiment toward multifamily housing also remains much more positive as rents continue to rise, one reason why Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust had a positive return in February even as rising numbers of investors lodge withdrawal requests.

The availability of agency-backed loans will help owners of those properties when they need to refinance.

Still, when apartment blocks are excluded, the scale of the problems facing banks becomes even starker.

As much as 70% of the other commercial real estate loans that mature over the next five years are held by banks.

“Commercial real estate needs to re-price and alternative ways to refinance the debt are needed,” Morgan Stanley says.

European real estate issuers, meanwhile, have the equivalent of more than 24 billion euros due for repayment over the remainder of the year, Bloomberg Intelligence says.

From the US to Japan, real estate investment trusts that focus on office property have taken a hit from fears that financing will be harder to come by.

The S&P 1500 Office REITS Sub-Industry Index, which tracks major office property REITs in the US, fell to 53 at one point in late March.

It was down more than 20% from the end of 2022 and plumbed its lowest point since 2009. The index still languishes under 60 – a trend that could arrive in this country.

Tags: commercial property

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AIA - Back My Build 6.19 - - -
AIA - Go Home Loans 8.74 7.14 6.75 ▼6.39
ANZ 8.64 7.74 7.39 7.25
ANZ Blueprint to Build 7.39 - - -
ANZ Good Energy - - - 1.00
ANZ Special - 7.14 6.79 6.65
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ASB Better Homes Top Up - - - 1.00
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BNZ - Classic - ▼7.14 6.79 6.65
BNZ - Green Home Loan top-ups - - - 1.00
BNZ - Mortgage One 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 8.69 ▼7.74 7.39 7.25
BNZ - TotalMoney 8.69 - - -
CFML Loans 9.45 - - -
China Construction Bank - 7.09 6.75 6.49
China Construction Bank Special - - - -
Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - ▼6.79 - -
Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 8.40 ▼6.99 6.79 6.65
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 ▼7.49 7.29 7.15
Credit Union Auckland 7.70 - - -
First Credit Union Special - 7.45 7.35 -
First Credit Union Standard 8.50 7.99 7.85 -
Heartland Bank - Online 7.99 6.89 6.55 6.35
Heartland Bank - Reverse Mortgage - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 8.90 7.60 7.40 -
HSBC Premier 8.59 - - -
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 7.85 7.05 ▼6.69 6.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Kainga Ora 8.64 7.79 7.39 7.25
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - - - -
Kiwibank 8.50 ▼7.99 7.79 7.55
Kiwibank - Offset 8.50 - - -
Kiwibank Special - ▼6.99 6.79 6.65
Liberty 8.59 8.69 8.79 8.94
Nelson Building Society 9.00 7.75 7.35 -
Pepper Money Advantage 10.49 - - -
Pepper Money Easy 8.69 - - -
Pepper Money Essential 8.29 - - -
Resimac - LVR < 80% 8.84 8.09 7.59 7.29
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac - LVR < 90% 9.84 9.09 8.59 8.29
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Alt Doc) - - 8.99 -
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Full Doc) - - 9.49 -
SBS Bank 8.74 ▼7.74 7.29 6.59
SBS Bank Special - ▼7.14 6.69 5.99
SBS Construction lending for FHB - - - -
SBS FirstHome Combo 6.19 ▼6.14 - -
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SBS Unwind reverse equity 9.95 - - -
Select Home Loans 9.24 - - -
TSB Bank 9.44 7.79 7.55 7.45
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TSB Special 8.64 6.99 6.75 6.65
Unity 8.64 6.99 6.79 -
Unity First Home Buyer special - 6.55 6.45 -
Wairarapa Building Society 8.60 6.95 6.85 -
Westpac 8.64 7.89 7.35 7.25
Westpac Choices Everyday 8.74 - - -
Westpac Offset 8.64 - - -
Westpac Special - 7.29 6.75 6.65
Median 8.64 7.21 7.29 6.65

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