Nearly $1.5B in CMBS Possibly at Risk from Hurricane Florence

Morningstar Credit Ratings has identified more than 180 securitized commercial mortgages on properties in North Carolina counties that have been declared disaster areas because of the storm.
Steve Jellinek, Vice President, Morningstar Credit Ratings
Steve Jellinek, Vice President, Morningstar Credit Ratings

About $1.5 billion in securitized commercial mortgages could be affected by the severe damage that Hurricane Florence has inflicted across North Carolina, according to a CMBS Alert issued by Morningstar Credit Ratings, a subsidiary of Morningstar Inc.   

Though the authors, Senior Vice President Beth Forbes and Vice President Steve Jellinek, cautioned that damage is still being assessed, their research found 189 properties backing 187 securitized loans in 16 of the 18 counties that FEMA has declared eligible for individual assistance.

Still, the alert noted, “Morningstar does not expect waves of loan defaults resulting from this storm because business-interruption insurance should cover the gap in service, if necessary, for most properties.

All of the top 10 loans (by allocated property balance) in FEMA-declared disaster zones in North Carolina are secured by multifamily properties, six of them in Wilmington and four in Fayetteville.

This is consistent with a property type breakdown that Jellinek provided to Commercial Property Executive, according to which (as ranked by principal balance) multifamily assets total 54.2 percent of the $1.5 billion total. Next in order are retail properties, at 19.6 percent, and hotels, at 15.2 percent.

The Morningstar Credit Ratings report suggests that undamaged multifamily and hospitality properties could see additional demand from families looking for temporary housing.

Sources of resources

Just last month, Kevin Donnelly of the National Multifamily Housing Council noted that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was forecast to have the potential to generate up to 16 named storms, including up to four major hurricanes.  

He described the pros and cons of private flood insurance versus the National Flood Insurance Program and recommended that multifamily operators avail themselves of both FEMA’s Hurricane Ready Business Toolkit and the NMHC’s own resources for preparing for and responding to severe weather events.

Image courtesy of Morningstar Inc.