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CRE Risk Outlook

Markets mostly stable in Q1

April 18, 2012

By staff

A pair of reports on the commercial real estate market indicated that multifamily is the best performing sector as tenant quality is on the rise. Vacancy levels are a concern for retail properties and suburban office buildings.

Moody's Investors Service, which provides ratings for commercial mortgage-backed securities, reported that performance in U.S. commercial real estate markets was mostly stable during the first quarter.

"Similarly to last quarter, scores and credit metrics were generally stable," Moody's Senior Credit Officer Keith Banhazl said in a statement. "None of the scores for the commercial real estate market sectors changed by more than three points."

The highest scoring property type was multifamily. But multifamily had a three-point decline.

Retail property risk worsened as the 13.2 percent vacancy rate was 0.2 percent higher.

Moody's labeled suburban office property vacancy of 17.8 percent a "concern."

The New York-based firm said that the highest-scoring markets were Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco. The worst-scoring markets were Detroit, Trenton, N.J., and Phoenix.

A separate report indicated that the credit quality of multifamily tenants increased during the first three months of this year.

CoreLogic reported that its multifamily applicant risk index increased one point from the fourth quarter 2011, while it was up three points from a year earlier. The improvement indicates a slightly better applicant pool.

CoreLogic determines the index from applicant traffic credit quality scores from its SafeRent statistical lease screening model. The service helps landlords determine tenant risk.

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