Time is reporting that the credit crunch has thus far focused on the residential mortgage mess. But with $1.3 trillion in loans to shopping centers and other commercial properties coming due between now and 2013, another time bomb is ticking.
Deutsche Bank estimates that at least half the loans — and two-thirds of those packaged and resold as securities — will not qualify for refinancing. As a result, many borrowers will likely default, leading to losses on securitized mortgages of $50 billion or more and losses of at least $200 billion on commercial real estate loans overall, according to Deutsche analyst Richard Parkus, who authored the report. "People are only now beginning to realize there is a looming crisis," Parkus told Time.
Financial analysts believe government incentives to banks to extend existing commercial real estate loans will be necessary to limit the damage. The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are considering a number of options. The alternative is last week's bankruptcy of General Growth Properties, the nation's second largest shopping-center group, which could not refinance, even though many of its properties have positive cash flow.
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