How Lehman Hurts Commercial Real Estate David Bodamer September 16th, 2008

I'm still trying to get my head around the implications that Lehman's collapse has for the commercial real estate sector. As I see it, there are a handful of ways this is negative or potentially negative for the sector. If you've got any feedback or disagreements, let me know in the comments section.

I. Values: Lehman's sitting on $32.6 billion in commercial real estate investments in the form of loans and equities. It was a big investor in commercial mortgage-backed securities. What's it going to do with that? Will it still roll those holdings into the bank it talked about last week? Or will it try to sell to the market. Right now, investors are so skittish about any kind of securitized debt, Lehman may have to sell at deep losses. That, in turn, will force other holders of CMBS bonds to “mark to market” based on Lehman's precedent. So we're looking at a real potential drop in perceived values of CMBS bonds. That could also have effects on determining the value of actual real estate. If the CMBS valuations are to be believed, it would imply deep discounts on actual property values. The industry had been hoping that the correction would be 10 to 15 percent.

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