Commercial mortgage loan defaults look likely to rise through the end of the year, with another 4.4% likely in 2010 and the overall default rate expected to pass 11% among securities rated by Fitch Ratings, the credit-rating agency said today. New CMBS defaults increased more than five-fold last year, totaling 1,464 loans worth $17.75bn, Fitch said. “Fourth-quarter default rates reached their highest ever levels both in principal balance and number of loans with no clear signs of stabilization,” said managing director Mary MacNeill, in an e-mailed statement. Large loan defaults also increased “dramatically” last year, with 56 loans worth more than $50m defaulting in 2009 compared with only five in 2008. Most of the defaulted loans came from 2006-2008 vintages. Among all vintages, 2007 deals led defaults in 2009, accounting for 35.6% by principal balance. Fitch predicts 10-year cumulative defaults rates on ’07 Fitch-rated CMBS to reach 27%. For the first time in five years, multifamily was not the property type with the most new defaults, Fitch said, as that distinction fell instead to retail properties that accounted for 32.3% of new defaults. Multifamily took 22.1% of new defaults, while office properties took another 20.2% of new defaults. Write to Diana Golobay.

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