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CRE 'Very Much On The Watchlist,' White House Says


Amid concerns about the banking sector and its real estate debt holdings, a White House adviser told senators he is keeping an eye on commercial real estate. 

"This issue is very much on the watchlist," Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs this week during a confirmation hearing over his appointment as chair of the council, Bloomberg reported

"It’s something we’re tracking carefully,” he said.

Bernstein said he thought that actions taken by the White House and Federal Reserve “really helped to stabilize the system” and were likely to help reduce stress on the system, “but they are definitely worth keeping a close eye on, and we will do so at CEA,” he said, according to Bloomberg. 

Following turmoil at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that resulted in both being taken over by regulators, the commercial real estate industry was thrust into the spotlight as concerns grew about the concentration of loans to the industry that came from small and regional banks. 

Many regional banks have pulled back from lending to the sector since the collapse of SVB and SB, and private lenders have picked up the slack. But there could still be a bumpy road ahead: About $400B in commercial loans are set to expire this year, with office properties acting as collateral for a quarter of those loans, according to MSCI.