US banks reported an increase in distressed mortgage and REO volume of nearly 10% over the previous quarter. Troubled real estate and distressed whole loans with banks now top $352 Billion, up from a little more than $320 Billion in the previous quarter.
Residential Real Estate Problems
As expected, residential real estate continued to be the dominant problem facing the nation’s banks in terms of dollar volume of distressed assets. For the first time, distressed loans and residential REO topped $200 Billion, up from $179.6 Billion in the previous quarter. Probably the most disturbing part of this trend is that the biggest increase came in the 90+ Day Late category, which jumped 22% in a single quarter. This suggests that problems are accelerating rather than abating.
Lenders only increased their residential REO balances by 1.6%, while non-accrual jumped 7.7%. Clearly there is a significant backup in processing foreclosures. It’s hard to see a way that this continued surge won’t result in a significant increase in available residential REO, and ultimately, lower home prices. It is important to point out that these figures are based on whole loan totals and not MBS, which encompasses the majority of residential mortgages. It would be reasonable, however, to assume that portfolio and securitized mortgages are experiencing similar trends.
Troubled Multifamily Property
Distressed multifamily balances continue to make up only a small fraction of the sea of bad loans and REO, but this past quarter the asset type saw the biggest increase in problems out of the four asset types that we track. Non-performing multifamily loan balances surged 23.3% last quarter while multifamily REO balances ballooned by 21.2%. So while distressed multifamily opportunities are rapidly increasing, the asset type still only comprises 3% of all real estate portfolio problems for America’s banks, 1,158 banks are reporting non-performing multifamily loans while 655 report multifamily REO. As of Q4 2009 banks are showing only $11.13 Billion in troubled multifamily loans, up from $9.19 Billion in the previous quarter.
Commercial Real Estate Distress
Banks started to book commercial real estate into REO at an increased pace at the end of 2009. Commercial REO balances jumped nearly 21% from the previous quarter. Non-performing (non-accrual) commercial real estate loans bumped up 15.4% while 90 Day Late loans dipped 7%, indicating that some lenders may be moving to take their CRE knocks sooner rather than later. A counter point to this is the fact that while banks are holding a little more than $7 Billion in commercial REO, their non-accrual CRE loans stand at $37.7 Billion, representing more than a 5-fold increase. Expect to see some of this move through the pipeline over the course of the year.
Construction Loans and Failed Projects
Construction loans make up 25% of our bank’s problems with a total bill of $89 Billion. This number only increased .4%. Construction REO jumped 14.4%, but late and non-accrual construction loans dropped .3% and 17.8% respectively. You could say, it would seem, that the one bright spot is that construction loan problems are abating. I’m hesitant to declare that, however, due to the fact that banks continue to whistle past the graveyard with non-performing construction loans.
Banks have made almost no progress in 3 quarters in reducing the level of construction loan non-accrual. Construction loans are usually fairly short term loans and banks haven’t been making them for a while, this accounts for the dwindling numbers. Not making construction loans is a double-edged sword, however, because while banks aren’t lending they have huge volumes of failed construction projects for sale. If developers can’t borrow, how can they buy?
Construction has been the leading cause of bank failures over the last 6 months. Expect to see many more who are failing to take meaningful action towards recovery on these projects. A lot of the bad construction loans are broken or failed condo projects, busted sub-divisions and the like. Well positioned developers could see a flood of opportunity this year.
Look for individual state and asset type reports over the next two weeks as we dive into BankProspector and pull out the data.
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