- November 1, 2014: Vol. 8, Number 10

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It takes all sorts: Navigating commercial real estate finance in a post-GFC world

by Robert F Little and Chris Bates

On 15 October 2008, the failure of Lehman Bros forever changed the financial landscape. Lehman, a perennial investment banking powerhouse, had become a major player in the ownership, financing and structuring of real estate deals, fuelling a white hot market for large, complex and risky transactions. With Lehman’s failure and the onset of the global financial crisis came a nearly complete retrenchment of liquidity in the commercial real estate market, a dramatic (greater than 50 percent in many cases) decline in valuations, fears of a meltdown in the CMBS market comparable to what occurred in the RMBS market, and concerns over potential massive losses embedded in the equity and debt portfolios held by major global investors. It was seemingly shaping up to be the worst of times …

Then a funny thing happened. Governments around the globe flooded the economy with free money, lowering rates, buying assets (toxic or otherwise) and making promises of doing “whatever it takes

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