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Jel Classification:R33 

Working Paper
Loan Modifications and the Commercial Real Estate Market

Banks modify more CRE loans than CMBS, contributing to better loan performance when property incomes decline. However, banks have higher delinquency rates for less-stressed loans, consistent with modification policies encouraging strategic default. Motivated by these facts, we develop a tradeoff theory model in which lenders vary in their modification technologies. Modification frictions discourage strategic renegotiation, enabling CMBS to offer higher LTV loans and attract borrowers seeking higher leverage. The model produces cross-lender differences in LTVs and spreads consistent with the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-050

Working Paper
On Commercial Construction Activity's Long and Variable Lags

We use microdata on the phases of commercial construction projects to document three facts regarding time-to-plan lags: (1) plan times are long--about 1.5 years on average--and highly variable, (2) roughly one-third of projects are abandoned in planning, (3) property price appreciation reduces the likelihood of abandonment. We construct a model with endogenous planning starts and abandonment that matches these facts. Endogenous abandonment makes short-term building supply more elastic, as price shocks immediately affect the exercise of construction options rather than just planning starts. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2024-016

Working Paper
Debt Overhang and the Retail Apocalypse

Debt overhang is central for theories of capital structure, yet credible empirical estimates of its effects remain elusive. We study the consequences and mechanisms of debt overhang using exogenous changes in the leverage of commercial retail properties. Identification comes from changes in property values occurring after pre-determined debt rollover dates. We show that debt reduces profitability by impairing property owners' response to negative shocks, reducing the business activity of their remaining retail tenants. For the median property, a 10 percentage point leverage increase causes ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1356

Journal Article
Flexibility and Conversions in New York City's Housing Stock: Building for an Era of Rapid Change

Post-COVID, New York City faces reduced demand for commercial space in its central business districts, even as residential demand is resurgent. Just as in past eras of New York’s history, conversion of commercial spaces into housing may help the city adapt to these new market conditions and provide an additional pathway for producing badly needed housing. If 10 percent of office and hotel spaces were converted to residential use, around 75,000 homes would be created, concentrated in Midtown Manhattan. However, there are considerable obstacles to such conversions, including a slew of ...
Economic Policy Review , Volume 29 , Issue 2 , Pages 53-74

Working Paper
The other (commercial) real estate boom and bust: the effects of risk premia and regulatory capital arbitrage

The last decade?s boom and bust in U.S. commercial real estate (CRE) prices was at least as large as that in the housing market and also had a large effect on bank failures. Nevertheless, the role of CRE in the Great Recession has received little attention. This study estimates cohesive models of short-run and long-run movements in capitalization rates (rent-to-price-ratio) and risk premiums across the four major types of commercial properties. Results indicate that CRE price movements were mainly driven by sharp declines in required risk premia during the boom years, followed by sharp ...
Working Papers , Paper 1504

Working Paper
On Commercial Construction Activity's Long and Variable Lags

We use microdata on the phases of commercial construction projects to document three facts regarding time-to-plan lags: (1) plan times are long--about 1.5 years on average--and highly variable, (2) roughly one-third of projects are abandoned in planning, (3) property price appreciation reduces the likelihood of abandonment. We construct a model with endogenous planning starts and abandonment that matches these facts. Endogenous abandonment makes short-term building supply more elastic, as price shocks immediately affect the exercise of construction options rather than just planning starts. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2024-016

Working Paper
Loan Modifications and the Commercial Real Estate Market

Banks modify more CRE loans than CMBS, contributing to better loan performance when property incomes decline. However, banks have higher delinquency rates for less-stressed loans, consistent with modification policies encouraging strategic default. Motivated by these facts, we develop a tradeoff theory model in which lenders vary in their modification technologies. Modification frictions discourage strategic renegotiation, enabling CMBS to offer higher LTV loans and attract borrowers seeking higher leverage. The model produces cross-lender differences in LTVs and spreads consistent with the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-050

Working Paper
CRE Redevelopment Options and the Use of Mortgage Financing

A significant share of commercial real estate (CRE) investment properties---about half by our estimates---are purchased without a mortgage. Using comprehensive microdata on transactions in the U.S. CRE market, we analyze which types of properties are purchased without a mortgage, highlighting the important role of renovation or redevelopment options. We show that mortgage-financed properties are less likely to be subsequently redeveloped, and that owners anticipate these redevelopment frictions and avoid mortgage financing for properties with greater redevelopment options. These effects ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2024-046

Working Paper
Intermediary Segmentation in the Commercial Real Estate Market

Banks, life insurers, and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) lenders originate the vast majority of U.S. commercial real estate (CRE) loans. While these lenders compete in the same market, they differ in how they are funded and regulated, and therefore specialize in loans with different characteristics. We harmonize loan-level data across the lenders and review how their CRE portfolios differ. We then exploit cross-sectional differences in loan portfolios to estimate a simple model of frictional substitution across lender types. The substitution patterns in the model match well the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-079

Working Paper
On Commercial Construction Activity's Long and Variable Lags

We use microdata on the phases of commercial construction projects to document three facts regarding time-to-plan lags: (1) plan times are long--about 1.5 years on average--and highly variable, (2) roughly one-third of projects are abandoned in planning, (3) property price appreciation reduces the likelihood of abandonment. We construct a model with endogenous planning starts and abandonment that matches these facts. Endogenous abandonment makes short-term building supply more elastic, as price shocks immediately affect the exercise of construction options rather than just planning starts. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2024-016

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