Roundtable Weekly
FSOC Sees CRE Among Risks to U.S. Economy in 2024
December 22, 2023

Last week, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released its 2023 Annual Report, identifying commercial real estate among the major financial risks to the U.S. economy in 2024. (FSOC 2023 Annual Report).

Report Findings

  • Developed by the FSOC, the report reviews financial market developments, describes emerging threats to U.S. financial stability, identifies vulnerabilities in the financial system, and makes recommendations to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Citing the almost $6 trillion of commercial real estate loans outstanding in the second quarter of 2023, roughly half of which are held by U.S. banks, the report raises concerns about  “a substantial volume” of these loans that are set to mature in the next few years. (Marketwatch, Dec. 14)
  • The report states, “Elevated interest rates, high costs, and potential structural changes in demand for CRE have heightened concerns about CRE. Maturing loans and expiring leases amid weak demand for office space have the potential to strain office sector conditions further, which could cause stress to spread beyond this segment of the CRE market.”
  • The report also cites the July 2023 policy statement by the banking agencies on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Accommodations and Workouts, as requested in the Roundtable’s March comment letter, and notes that accommodations and workouts are often in the best interest of borrowers and lenders.
  • The FSOC recommends that supervisors, financial institutions, and investors continue to monitor CRE exposures and concentrations closely and track market conditions. (U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release, Dec. 14)

Looking Ahead

  • In the op-ed, Rodgers stated, “To help rebalance these maturing loans, it is important to advance measures that will encourage additional capital formation. To that end, it is essential to bring more foreign capital into U.S. real estate by lifting legal barriers to investment, as well as to repeal or reform the archaic Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). Importantly, policymakers must not hike the tax rate on capital gains, end carried interest, or alter the 1031 like-kind exchange provisions.” (ULI Op-ed Dec. 18)
  • The paper also cited that around one-third of all loans, and the majority of office loans, may encounter substantial cash flow problems and refinancing challenges.
  • RER board member Scott Rechler (RXR) was quoted in the Wall Street Journal this week discussing the outlook for 2024. “In 2024, it’s game time. Owners and lenders are going to have to come to terms as to where values are, where debt needs to be, and right-sizing capital structures for these buildings to be successful.”

The Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) will discuss many of these issues at our State of the Industry Meeting on January 23, 2024.

# # #