Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Extend and Pretend

The recent bank practice to "extend and pretend" was the focus of a commercial real estate panel discussion held last night at UCLA. The moderator, Jesse Sharf of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, questioned four leading members of the commercial real estate industry on a variety of topics including "when will deals reappear?".

About two hundred attendees listened attentively to the responses of John Brady (Oak Tree Capital Management), Samuel Freshman (Standard Management Company), Bill Lindsay (Pacific Coast Capital Partners) and Sean Mahon (Wells Fargo Bank).

Here are the highlights from my perspective:

  • The October 30, 2009 (the night before Halloween) guidance issued by the FDIC and other regulators has made it very easy for banks to extend and restructure commercial real estate loans that otherwise could have been classified as troubled assets.
  • Commercial real estate values will likely drop to 50 percent of their peak values as cap rates increase from 6% to 9%.
  • There is a HUGE shortage of capital available to re-finance all of the commercial real estate loans maturing in the next three to five years due to the implosion of the CMBS markets and balance sheet challenges faced by the commercial banking community.
  • Low interest rates are keeping a lot of commercial real estate loans from going into default. Look for the Federal Reserve to keep benchmark rates low for the foreseeable future.
  • Deal flow for commercial real estate loans and investor opportunities will not recover until the unemployment rate starts to drop.
  • All four panelists opined that commercial real estate values will continue to decline in 2010.

If you were looking for some good news from last night's meeting - well, they served a very nice chardonnay! Crisp, refined and a hint of pear.

I've still got some commercial real estate bridge lenders actively pursuing loan opportunities of at least $1 million. Give me a call if I can help!

Tags : extend and pretend , commercial real estate loans , FDIC , bridge loans , private money loans

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