(Bloomberg) — The US commercial real estate market has been in turmoil since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. But New York Community Bancorp and Japan’s Aozora Bank Ltd. delivered a reminder that some lenders are only just beginning to see the pain.
New York Community Bancorp’s decisions to slash its dividend and stockpile reserves sent its stock down a record 38% and dragged the KBW Regional Banking Index to its worst day since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last March. Tokyo-based Aozora Bank plunged more than 20% after warning of a loss tied to investments in US commercial property. In Europe, Deutsche Bank AG more than quadrupled its US real estate loss provisions to €123 million ($133 million) in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.
The concern reflects the ongoing slide in commercial property values coupled with the difficulty predicting which specific loans might unravel. Setting that stage is a pandemic-induced shift to remote work and a rapid run-up in interest rates, which have made it more expensive for strained borrowers to refinance. Billionaire investor Barry Sternlicht warned this week that the office market is headed for more than $1 trillion in losses.
Editor: Is this the beginning of an economic downturn we all thought we'd averted?