Commercial Real Estate Lobby Ask For Taxpayer Aid To Help Recapitalize Banks Saddled With Billions In Underwater CRE Loans

The problem that nobody is talking about, yet everyone continues keeping a close eye on, namely the trillions in commercial real estate under water, is quietly starting to reemerge. In the attached letter from the Commercial Real Estate lobby, it reminds politicians that the hundreds of billions in loans that mature in the next several years won't roll on their own, and we see the first inkling of the lobby asking congress for much more taxpayer aid, in this case in the form of Shelley Berkley's proposed legislation to "enable banks to convert troubled loans into performing assets through modest tax incentives to attract new equity capital to existing commercial real estate projects." The letter tacitly reminds that there are thousands of regional banks whose balance sheets are chock full with underwater commercial real estate (and for the direct impact of this simply observe the 100+ banks on the FDIC's 2010 failed bank list). So in case taxpayers are wondering where the next fiscal stimulus will end up going, wonder no more: "The new investments would be specifically used to pay down debt,
resulting in lower loan-to-value ratios of existing loans as well as
improved debt coverage ratios
." As the CRE lobby concludes: "By giving lenders the ability to responsibly refinance debt and
rebalance capital reserve levels, the CRE Act will provide the
opportunity for additional lending capacity that will help stimulate
lending to small businesses, job formation and economic growth in
communities across the country." In other words, it is time for taxpayers to help purge banks of existing toxic debt, so that these same banks can resume lending like drunken sailors, in unviable commercial real estate projects just to guarantee that the next major market blow up also destroys the regional banking system, in addition to the TBTFs.

Reggie Middleton's picture

Many people have asked me how SRS and REITs share prices can defy gravity the way they have given the abysmal state of commercial real estate (CRE). Well my opinion is that the equity and the debt markets have allowed agent and principal manipulation to the extent that it materially distorts and interferes with the market pricing mechanism.

CRE Double Dip: Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Index Drops 0.5% In May

The Moody’s/REAL All Property Type Aggregate Index measured a 0.5% price decline in March, marking a second month of falling values after a slight rebound reported earlier this year. The index now stands at 111.16, down 24.9% from a year ago and 40.5% from two years ago. Prices peaked in October 2007, and at their lowest point thus far in the downturn (October 2009) they had fallen 43.7%. As of the end of March, commercial property prices are down 42.1% from the peak.

Jay-Z, After Becoming Latest Casualty Of New York CRE Collapse, Sues Highland Capital

The latest casualty of New York's resurgent (not) commercial real estate market is rap mogul Jay-Z, who had previously guaranteed a $52 million loan for a Chelsea hotel, which subsequently has defaulted and is holding the artist as the responsible party for accrued interest. As a result, Jay-Z is lashing out, and in turn is suing defunct hedge fund Highland Capital (maybe he should have at least picked an adversary that can pay him), which last time we checked was still trying to offload second-lien debt at par plus. Bloomberg reports: "Carter, in his complaint filed yesterday in federal court in New York, claims Highland and co-defendant NexBank SSB are attempting to “bleed” from him funds in excess of those he and two other men pledged to pay when they guaranteed the non- principal obligations of a company planning to build a hotel in Manhattan’s west side neighborhood of Chelsea."

Kanjorski Admits There Is A "Growing Bubble In Commercial Real Estate" As S&P Observes Recognition Of CRE Losses Could Wipe Out Banking System

Even as ever more Congressmen express concern about the implications of the ongoing CRE "bubble" (yes, this is a quote), S&P comes out with a report noting that should the banking system be forced to take all appropriate CRE-associated writedowns, it likely would not survive. And all this is occurring as REITs probe new 52 week highs. Welcome to the new economy.

Reggie Middleton's picture

Ackman from Pershing Square fame has released a very bullish CRE presentation. I stand diametrically opposed to both the conclusions and the analysis in general, thus have created my own comprehensive CRE outlook for 2010 and beyond. Here you have it: A bulls vs bears debate in the CRE space - both of which are quite well documented and allow for rich reading.

McKinsey Study Finds European CRE Financing Industry Was Never Really Profitable

Yet one more nail in the CRE coffin, and another reason why extend and pretend will be with us for years to come, lest investors wake up and find out just how screwed this country's economy really is. In the meantime, IYR is going to the moon. A new McKinsey study looks at the CRE lending industry and finds some very disturbing things. Such as that even in the peak market years of 2006-2007 the European CRE finance industry did not cover its cost of capital!!! One can only imagine what the reality must be like currently in the dead zone that is European Commercial Real Estate financing (and also in those barbaric lands west of the Atlantic). Yet somehow the Euro keeps appreciating every day against the dollar. Let the Kool Aid flow.

Reggie Middleton's picture

How bad will the luxury hotel market get? Well,,, Pretty bad. All of those BS, "better than expected" earnings surprises off of severely lowered estimates stem not from top line revenue gains or economic progress, but from hacking jobs and cost cutting. Ya' think those Four Seasons', et. al. hyper-luxury executive suites are included in those cuts somewhere??? Here are all of those pretty graphs and interconnected hyperlinks to help tell the story...

Four Seasons Hotel In New York Is Latest Victim Of CRE Crash

The CRE crunch continues claiming victims, with the latest being the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. And while Stuyvesant Town is some dinky little project somewhere on the East side of New York (or so prevailing thought runs), which few care if it goes belly up or not, the fat cats that frequent the opulent hotel on 58th street next to the brothel, pardon, gentlemen's club, which is Tao in all but name, may be a little more concerned about this one. In addition to the Four Seasons, three other luxury hotels, which back a loan sent to a special servicer 10 days ago include the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Montecito, the ritzy Las Ventanas in Cabo, the destination of many a banker closing dinner, and the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito.

CRE Update: CMBS Deterioration Accelerates, L.A.'s 550 South Hope Tower Appraised At Half 2007 Value

August CRE trends continued their downward trends, with a bevy of trackers of CMBS performance, Moody's, Fitch, Realpoint and TREPP seeing substantial deterioration in September. According To TREPP the August delinquency rate was up to 4.35% from 4.03. Legacy rating agencies Moody's and Fitch indicated a comparable acceleration in delinquency trends, with September 60-delinquencies at 3.64% and 3.58%, up from 3.04% and 3.23% respectively. New CRE NRSRO Realpoint had an even higher September reading at 4.15% up from 3.47% in the previous month.