Now Real Estate Developers want a Bailout

Once the door is open, everyone wants a cut. Add Real Estate developers to the list of groups asking the US Government for a bailout, with loans due this year unable to be refinanced due to the credit crunch.

Developers are warning that thousands of office complexes, hotels, shopping centers and other commercial buildings are headed into defaults, foreclosures and bankruptcies due to $530 billion of commercial mortgages will be coming due for refinancing in the next three years with $160 billion maturing in the next year.

According to reports, commercial mortgages are usually underwritten for five, seven or 10 years with big payments due at the end. At that point, they typically need to be refinanced. A borrower’s inability to refinance could force it to give up the property to the lender.

A letter sent to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and signed by a dozen real-estate trade groups, paints a bleak scenario: “Right now, we believe there is insufficient systemic capacity to refinance expiring, performing commercial real-estate loans,” said the letter. “For many borrowers, [credit] simply is not available.”

I could ask when will this madness stop, but we know the answer: when the US Government runs out of money.