CMBS 2.0 credit mirrors issuance in 2004: Moody's
Moody's Investors Service remains optimistic about current commercial real estate credit, as it reflects characteristics of pre-crisis credit. The credit ratings agency said in a note Friday that commercial mortgage-backed securities 2.0 credit is now equivalent to CMBS 1.0 credit from 2004. This is due in part to improved underwriting standards, Moody's said. "(Today's credit) is roughly consistent with that of 2004, one of the last "normal" years before frothy underwriting kicked in," the research note said. The firm also expects CMBS conduit leverage to return to the mid-70s loan-to-value ratio, up from the current LTV in the 60s. Moody's believes this will happen sooner rather than later, as competition among securities issuers increases. Other macroeconomic factors contribute to a favorable position for the CMBS credit cycle, Moody's said. This includes the absorption of market inventory. Two other credit ratings agencies released their views of the securities market Friday. Fitch Ratings found that CMBS delinquencies rose in May, up to 8.81% from 8.75% in April. The firm believes this is driven by a decrease in CMBS volume outstanding. Standard and Poor's commented it expects less than $5 billion of new nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities to enter the market in 2011. The firm projects the private-label RMBS market will remain muted "this year and possibly for much longer." Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.