CMBS Talf Launches – Nobody Cares
July 16, 2009 · Posted in Business
A few days ago the Fed said most eligible CMBS OK for TALF:
Most commercial mortgage-backed securities eligible under published guidelines for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility will also meet other Federal Reserve criteria, the Fed told investors on Friday, according one investor and a dealer.
Uncertainty over which CMBS could still be rejected from the TALF program next week has created confusion and capped gains in the $700 billion market, which the Fed wants to help unlock with the lending program.
The assurance by the Fed “will help, but we expect the market will be cautious,” Citigroup analysts said in a research note obtained by Reuters.
CMBS derivative index prices rose after the Fed conference call, according to one investor.
Today the program launched, and Investors request $669 mln in TALF loans for legacy CMBS:
Investors requested $668.9 million in loans for legacy commercial mortgage-backed securities on Thursday in a slow start for a key government program aimed at reviving the commercial real estate market.
The Fed is offering loans to investors for commercial mortgage-backed securities under its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, in an attempt to revive markets both for new and existing commercial bonds.
Lowering lending costs in commercial real estate could help ease refinancings by borrowers, who are increasingly defaulting on loans for a lack of credit.
Thursday was the first time the Fed accepted existing bonds under the TALF and the second round for its newly issued CMBS TALF program.
Investors did not request loans for newly issued CMBS in June or July.
It seems like CMBS TALF is off to a slow start. $668 million out of $700 billion is a drop in the bucket. Don’t expect it to pick up significantly. Commercial property lenders are loaded with non performing loans, precisely because lessees are going out of business or are unable to make their full payments. Demand for new loans is dried up. As I explained before, what the initiators of this program are missing…
(…)is the fact that the consumption credit expansion has brought about an abundance of retail space in malls, shopping centers and elsewhere. On top of that, a lot of businesses from the lending business were utilizing a significant portion of prime office space.
Now those businesses that were utilizing these spaces are going out of business. The recession is trying to send a signal that the resources are needed elsewhere. They are unable to make their rent payments. The owners of the properties start defaulting on the loans made during the credit expansion. The lenders notice that way too much space was built. There is no demand for any more retail space. In fact, there is a significant surplus. Nobody wants any more retail space. People are sick and tired of debt and over consumption.
Now, what are those very lenders going to do when they receive additional loans from the Fed, at around 2.9% to 3.7%, maybe even more for higher maturities. So they would have to earn at least an additional 100 basis points, probably more, in rental yield in order to make this investment worth their while, and that over the next 3-5 years.
Is this going to happen in an environment of falling prices for commercial properties, falling rents, and record vacancies? No, absolutely not. When people have had enough of something, they’ve had enough. If this is still not clear, I would recommend reading Robert Prechter’s example on Jaguar Inflation which I posted in Inflation and Deflation Revisited.
CMBS TALF will be a miserable failure, just as all other lending facilities launched by the Fed. It is possible that this failure will actually expose the dire situation of commercial lenders and accalerate the downward spiral. Thus, look out for the aftermath of first CMBS TALF auction on July 16th. Rather than it being a cure, it is likely that it will usher in a significant acceleration of commercial property loan defaults.