Analysts Predict First Losses In European Commercial Mortgage Bonds Since 2008 Crisis

Top-rated European commercial mortgage bonds are on the brink of experiencing their first losses since the 2008 credit crisis. Analysts have identified senior notes backed by UK shopping centres, German housing units, and French office buildings as the primary sources of these anticipated defaults.

Market Dynamics and Economic Pressures

The European commercial real estate market is currently facing significant economic pressures. Rising inflation, increasing interest rates, and post-pandemic adjustments have created a challenging environment for commercial properties. These factors have led to reduced demand, higher vacancy rates, and lower rental incomes across various sectors, significantly impacting the performance of mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

UK Shopping Centres

The retail sector in the UK has been particularly hard-hit by the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer behavior. Traditional shopping centres are struggling with high vacancy rates and declining rental incomes as more consumers opt for online shopping. This decline in revenue has adversely affected the performance of CMBS tied to these properties, leading to expected defaults on senior notes.

German Housing Units

In Germany, the residential property market is contending with higher interest rates, making mortgages more expensive and dampening housing demand. Additionally, regulatory changes aimed at stabilizing the housing market have unintentionally pressured property values and rental yields. These challenges have resulted in decreased returns on CMBS linked to German housing units, contributing to the anticipated losses.

French Office Properties

The French office market has also faced significant changes due to the shift towards remote and hybrid work models. Many companies have reduced their physical office space requirements, resulting in higher vacancy rates and lower rental incomes. This trend is expected to cause defaults on senior notes backed by office buildings, further exacerbating the situation for European CMBS.

Analysts' Perspectives

Analysts emphasize that the anticipated losses in European CMBS mark a significant departure from the stability observed since the 2008 financial crisis. They point out that the combination of economic challenges and evolving market dynamics is creating substantial risks for bondholders. The expected defaults reflect broader vulnerabilities within the commercial real estate sector.

Implications for Investors

Investors holding these mortgage bonds need to be aware of the changing landscape and the potential for increased defaults. The financial markets may experience tighter credit conditions and heightened scrutiny of commercial real estate investments as a result. Analysts advise investors to reassess their portfolios and consider the risks posed by the current economic environment.


The expected losses in top-rated European commercial mortgage bonds highlight the vulnerabilities in the commercial real estate sector. Stakeholders must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing the evolving economic and market dynamics to mitigate potential impacts. The upcoming defaults serve as a reminder of the importance of adaptability and careful monitoring in the face of economic uncertainties.

Author: Brett Hurll


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