A Matter Of Time

Michael Panzner
updated | Author's Website

Attention spans have fallen sharply in the digital age. People are used to pushing buttons and getting answers, or seeing things happen at an accelerated pace. Patience is no longer a virtue, but a throwback to a bygone era. History refers to what happened last month, last week, or during the last 24 hours, not over some extended period of time.

It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” world, where events that take too long to unfold are treated as though they’ll never happen. Yet no matter how easy it might seem to ignore or forget the many imbalances and structural problems that still lurk in the shadows, nothing has really changed. In the end, as the following CNBC report, “‘Tremendous’ Distress in Commercial Real Estate: CEO” suggests, there’s lots of ugliness that’s yet to play out.

Commercial real estate was supposed to be the “other shoe that dropped,” but so far, it hasn’t. Is this a reprieve or is it just a matter of time before the market runs into problems?

“It’s happening down the road,” Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty told CNBC today.

When you look at the commercial real estate market right now, “there is a tremendous amount of distress that is not really visible yet,” Rechler said.

Today “the blood is really in the boardroom behind closed doors where people are negotiating to solve problems,” he said.

In the early 90′s when the financial downturn happened you had the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation), which the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) set up. The RTC was taking “all these bad banks and then throwing the paper at discounts, and people were buying them at cents on the dollar,” the CEO said.

“This used to be the blood on the streets” in the commercial real estate market, Rechler said, adding, “this happened quickly,” he said.

But today it’s not just about the debt, “they actually have to inject equity,” Rechler said.

If you look at the CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed securities) over the next five years, “about 65 percent of the debt” will be maturing. “You can’t replace the same amount of debt in today’s market with the amount of debt that is maturing—its going to need more equity,” he concluded.

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