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WSJ: After Lehman, Banks Jettison Commercial Real Estate Debt

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The likely rush to sell is driving down the already battered market, forcing financial firms to take additional losses on the estimated $150 billion worth of commercial real-estate debt on their books as the once relatively resilient pocket of the property sector now comes under heavy fire.

"As a result of Lehman's bankruptcy, other financial institutions will feel more pressure to sell assets at deeper discounts sought by investors," said Spencer Garfield, a managing director of Hudson Realty Capital, a New York-based real-estate fund manager.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Tuesday said it had reduced its portfolio of commercial mortgages and securities by about $2 billion to $14.7 billion as of the end of its third quarter, which ended Aug. 29, taking a $325 million loss.

"It sure doesn't feel like the real-estate markets are improving anytime soon, and we will reduce that class going forward even if we think they are good assets," said Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar. "Those assets are marked where they can be sold."

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Hat tip to Deal Junkie for spotting this.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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