Distressed CMBS Loans Now Returning Less Than Half Their Note Value

Declining Property Values Indicate Loss Severities Will Go Higher

The amount of losses on distressed CMBS loans resolved in the past year has jumped 33% to where noteholders are now recovering approximately 43 cents on the dollar. And, say analysts, the losses are expected to continue to mount this year.

The average loss severity rate or the ratio of realized loss to liquidation balance for U.S. commercial mortgaged-backed securities (CMBS) loans resolved with losses in 2009 was 57% compared to the 43% rate in 2008, according to new data from Fitch Ratings. Those losses outpace the cumulative historical average of 37.2%.

“Loss severities are expected to remain above the current cumulative average through 2011,” said Fitch managing director Mary MacNeill. “Assets liquidated in the current economic environment will be those not likely to see cash flow improvement from an extension or modification.”

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