Amid reminders from real estate researcher Foresight Analytics that billions of dollars in real estate may go back to lenders this year, panelists at an Urban Land Institute meeting in San Francisco shared glimpses of how the real estate is trickling out. Titled “Asset Advisory, Receivership and Workout Strategies Emerging in the Downturn,” the panel revealed to more than 150 attendees that relationships and experience are key to stepping into the deal-flow.

“First and foremost, owners of troubled assets are seeking operating partners, advisors and receivers who really know the real estate, and can move quickly,” said Jerry Hunt, managing partner of Quattro Realty Advisors. Panelists agreed that there are many qualified firms, and bankers are turning to people they feel they can trust.

And where are all the asset-sales that were predicted? “Banks don’t want to sell in bulk portfolios because of the tremendous discount, whereas individual note-sales attain higher values,” said Curtis Chinn, formerly of Central Pacific Bank and now SVP of special assets for East West Bank, who characterized his comments as industry-perspective and not that of a particular bank. He said that while sales are increasing, banks have commitments to their own shareholders and are maximizing their position, following an FDIC road-map in October that enables more patient loan workouts.

But the rising tide of defaulting assets may speed the process, noted Steve Duffy, managing director of Moss Adams Capital. Unwilling owners of troubled real estate can only handle so much, and will face capital-structure issues and staff-capacity issues, he said.

“At the end of the day, lenders have to make an assessment: Are we better off if we take control of this asset or not?” he said. “To the extent that stakeholders can see a meaningful gap between the borrower’s restructuring plan and forced liquidation, it will point toward a restructuring alternative with the borrower. To the extent that there is not a meaningful gap, it will point to recycling of the asset,” he added, which is often a sale to a best-offer in reasonable time.

“Every significant real estate recession has followed with a great period of opportunity, and many believe the current recession will lead to one of the greatest wealth building opportunities of the current generation,” said real estate receiver Tony Theophilos, a partner at Starr Finley attorneys.

{I like that paragraph and believe that – cg}

“This real estate cycle is different than prior ones for three reasons: the speed of information, the complexity of the lender groups, and the large number of qualified investors today given the rise of opportunistic-investing of the early 90s,” said Duffy. “There is a tremendous amount of money present and waiting that was not in the last two commercial real estate cycles.”

According to Matt Anderson, a partner at Foresight Analytics, “There is more optimism at present that prices are rebounding, but it is really too early to say since increases of recent months are based on thin trading volume.

Experts: Troubled Asset Cycling May Speed Up. Click here for full article

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