The $90 Billon Wall of Maturing CMBS by Alexander W.L Rein

One of the biggest real estate stories of 2017 will be how landlords and their lenders handle the impending wave of maturing commercial mortgages. During the 2007 lending boom, banks sold a staggering $250 billion in commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) to institutional investors. These loans were due approximately ten years later, mostly in 2017. Now, this wall of maturities has been whittled down to $90 billion, as many borrowers paid back their loans early to take advantage of low interest rates. Morningstar Credit Ratings estimates that half of the loans will have trouble refinancing, and S&P analysts predict that around 13% of borrowers will default, up from 8% the past two years. Retail properties, especially malls, will most likely be hit hardest. The rise of e-commerce has made lenders increasingly pessimistic about the future of brick and mortar retail. On the other hand, top quality office properties are considered less risky. For example, RXR is securing a loan for $1.5 billion to pay off its $1 billion debt for 5 Times Square, the headquarters of Ernst and Young. The combination of a new administration, rising interest rates, and risk retention will ultimately play an important role in determining whether these loans will be able to refinance or not.