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S&P Report Shows U.S. CMBS Market Strong in 2001

NEW YORK, Jan 29, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Standard & Poor's today published its report on U.S. CMBS rating transitions in 2001. The study shows upgrades outstripping downgrades by a large margin, with the outlook for rating upgrades in 2002 remaining favorable. U.S. transaction volume in 2001 totaled $74.3 billion, almost reaching the record $74.5 billion brought to market in 1998.

These new high-water marks were reached despite the undercurrents of the global slowdown, however. While the credit aspects of the CMBS market were generally robust in 2001, signs began to appear during the year of some deterioration. According to Dr. Peter P. Kozel, a director of research in the Structured Finance group and one of the study's authors, "The delinquency rate on the underlying real estate collateral began to increase in 2001. Relative to historical benchmarks, though, the year-end delinquency rate was still relatively low."

The report concludes that if the current economic cycle includes a slow recovery with a modest increase in the mortgage delinquency rate in 2002, rating downgrades should continue to be concentrated in the below-investment- grade credit classes. For investment-grade credit classes, particularly in the conduit transactions, upgrades can be expected to exceed downgrades over the coming year.

The full report, "Rating Transitions 2001: CMBS Continues to Show Strong Credit Performance," can be found on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor's web-based credit analysis system, at www.ratingsdirect.com. It is also available on Standard & Poor's web site at www.standardandpoors.com. Go to Forum and under Ratings Commentary choose Structured Finance. The article can be found under Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Ratings.

Standard & Poor's

Peter P Kozel, Ph.D., of Standard & Poor's, New York
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