The Role of CMBS Loans - Trends & Prediction

David Cohn
Apr 30, 2024
CMBS Loans

Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) loans experienced a notable increase indelinquencies in 2023, climbing by nearly 1.5 percentage points to an overall rate of 4.51%.  

This upward movement in delinquency rates—primarily driven by the office sector—is a noteworthy shift from previous trends.

Retail stood out as the only asset class to see a reduction in delinquency rates year over year despite traditionally high levels of delinquency within this sector.

The office sector was most affected.

Office loan defaults increased sharply by 4.24 percentage points over the year, makingthe office sector the most substantial contributor to the rising delinquency rates in 2023. 

Analysis revealed that (1) nearly 70% of office CMBS loans did not pay off at maturity,and (2) there is a striking disparity based on the loan size. 

High-balance loans—particularly those over $100 million—had a markedly lower payoff ratethan their smaller counterparts. This disparity suggests a looming refinancing challenge for a significant portion of office CMBS loans 2024.

Market volatility and the impact of loan modifications

Despite the uptrend in delinquencies, the final months 2023 saw a slight decline.Experts say this unexpected shift indicates potential volatility within the market. A renewed increase could follow this temporary dip. 

Historical data show that delinquency rates peaked at significantly higher levels, such as in July 2012 and during the pandemic in June 2020.

While current rates remain well below these peaks, the market anticipates further stress, influenced partly by loan modifications and extensions in 2023 that have deferred maturities to future dates.


Anticipated market shifts in 2024

The forecast for 2024 suggests a proactive year for the CMBS market. With an expected decrease in borrowing costs courtesy of the Federal Reserve's policy adjustments, borrowers struggling with current interest rates may see some relief.

However, it's essential to understand that lower does not necessarily mean cheap. Even with reduced rates, borrowing costs will likely remain higher than in recent years, And a cautious approach to loan maturities and delinquencies is demanded.


Prospects for CMBS issuance and market liquidity in 2024

The issuance of non-agency CMBS saw a massive decline in 2023, dropping 44% to$39.33 billion — a stark contrast to the cyclical high of $110.56 billion in2021.

Despite this downturn, the outlook for 2024 is optimistic, with projections of are covery in issuance volume to approximately $55 billion.

This anticipated increase in issuance volume signals a potential improvement in market liquidity, which has been a pressing concern for the industry.

Several factors are set to influence the CMBS loan market in 2024:

1. Office sector challenges

With a large portion of office CMBS loans facing refinancing difficulties, the office sector may continue to be a significant driver of delinquency rates. The ability of these loans to secure refinancing in the current economic climate will be a critical factor to watch.

2. Retail sector dynamics

The retail sector's unique position (having shown a decrease in delinquency rates amidst broader market challenges) will be interesting to monitor. This sector's resilience or potential vulnerability could significantly impact overall CMBS delinquency trends.

3. Market actions and borrower responses

Lenders' strategies to address loan maturities and delinquencies (including forced sales and loan modifications) will play a crucial role in shaping the market landscape. Borrower decisions—particularly in cases where walking away becomes a more viable option—will also influence market dynamics.

4. Impact of borrowing costs

The Federal Reserve's efforts to lower costs could support the CMBS market. However, the effectiveness of these measures (especially in the context of historical borrowing rates) will be vital in determining the market's direction. 


Key factors shaping the CMBS market landscape

The CMBS loan market in 2024 is at a crucial turning point. Several elements will influence its direction:

  • The office sector's refinancing hurdles
  • The retail sector's steadfastness
  • Expected moves by lenders
  • The overall economic climate — especially borrowing costs

How well the industry handles these challenges will be crucial for foreseeing the path of the next year's CMBS loan market. 

Explore CMBS loans with Capital Investors Direct.

Are you seeking a reliable, flexible funding solution for commercial real estateprojects? Capital Investors Direct can help you get approved for CMBS loans.

Capital Investors Direct boasts a team with deep expertise in CMBS financing and a thorough understanding of the CRE market. We can connect you with the perfect lenders and tailor commercial real estate loans to your needs.

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Whether you're acquiring new properties, refinancing existing loans, or investing in property improvements, we can recommend the more suitable solutions.

We can connect you with a vast network of reputable lenders and secure the most competitive interest rates for your CMBS loan, positioning you for more tremendous success in the market.

We also know that prompt access to financing is essential for time-sensitive deals.This is why we've made the application process simple and efficient. 

Contact us today to explore possibilities with CMBS loans.