After suffering a beating from their exposure to home loans, banks and securities firms are about to take their lumps from office towers, hotels and other commercial real estate. And the losses could last longer than those from the subprime shakeout.
As the economy wobbles and financing costs rise because of the credit crunch, commercial-real-estate values are starting to slide, with analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. projecting a decline of 21% to 26% in the next two years. That means misery for securities firms with exposure to commercial-real-estate loans and commercial- mortgage-backed securities.
William Tanona, a Goldman analyst, expects total write-downs of $7.2 billion by Bear Stearns Cos., Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley in the first quarter. Those firms had combined commercial-real-estate exposure of $141 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.
-- OR --
Read about how the National Association for Business Economics ranks the financial market turmoil from loan defaults as the No. 1 threat to the economy over the next two years.