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Buying opportunity created by maturing commercial real estate debt

Such acquisitions may give the acquirers the ability to offer properties to renters at lower rates and with more attractive features than comparable properties, according to the report.

"The ability to acquire these properties at attractive costs is possible because of the significant amount of commercial real estate debt that is scheduled to mature over the next four years," said David Blum, managing director, portfolio management, at Urdang Capital Management and a co-author of the report.

"Many of these properties have experienced deferred capital expenditures, which will require owners to invest additional equity or dispose of their assets."

David Rabin, managing director, private real estate, at Urdang Capital Management, and the other co-author of the report, said: "With banks increasingly willing to sell these properties and with commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) delinquencies at an all-time high, we believe there will be increasing opportunities to purchase or recapitalise over-leveraged assets at an attractive cost basis." 

Also contributing to the attractiveness of selectively acquiring commercial real estate is that, aside from a handful high-end properties in top tier US markets, commercial real estate values generally remain well below peaks reached during the period of 2005 to 2007, according to the report.  The report attributed this drag on commercial real estate to the downward pull exerted by sales of distressed properties.

"This drop in values has put many otherwise healthy properties in a position where they will require infusions of additional equity so maturing mortgages can be refinanced," said Blum.

"This gives new investors the opportunity to have a lower cost basis than those who bought similar properties a few years ago, providing them with the ability to offer lower rental rates than comparable properties with greater debt burdens."

Those acquiring properties at a lower cost basis can add value to properties even as rental rates are flat or declining, according to the report. Adding value to low basis properties will be an operational cornerstone of real estate performance over the next several years, the report said.

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