Things are getting worse for malls across America. So much worse that their owners are walking away early from struggling properties, a trend that has mortgage bond investors bracing for losses.


"Experienced borrowers will act in their economic interest and will turn in the keys to malls that don't merit further investment. They don't want to service the loan anymore," Edward Reardon, head of CMBS research at Deutsche Bank, said in a phone interview. "We think the number of malls that don't merit investment will expand."

This is happening because malls are losing anchor stores and as a result would have to significantly cut rents for existing occupants, Reardon said, noting that mall owners fleeing their properties early is a "relatively new phenomenon."

That may mean trouble ahead for investors. While the delinquency rate in the CMBS market is now at post-crisis lows, the mall-related pain may not show up for a couple years, according to analysts. That's because the securities with the highest exposure have loans that won't mature until 2021 or later.

Comments: Be the first to add a comment

add a comment | go to forum thread