Top 10: The most-read stories in a year of dislocation

Real Estate Capital USA’s most popular stories of the year included its annual ranking of real estate debt funds, in-depth analysis on borrower strategies to extend loans and in-depth interviews with senior industry executives.

The US commercial real estate market felt the impact of a higher rate environment, slow transaction volume and a pullback from traditional banks.

The rising cost of debt was a key concern for market participants, with much of the activity that happened this year focusing on or around ways for borrowers to buy more time to complete a business plan or for a more favorable rate environment.

Real Estate Capital USA will continue to track these trends as they evolve in the coming year. But for now, here are the 10 most-read articles published over the past 12 months.

  1. Meet the biggest fundraisers in US commercial real estate debt

Real Estate Capital USA’s ranking of the largest fundraisers in the US commercial real estate lending space was our most popular feature this year, attracting a substantial number of clicks since its publication in June.

The Real Estate Capital USA Debt Fund 40, compiled by PEI Group’s in-house research and analytics team, ranks managers by the level of capital raised from external investors in the preceding five years with the express purpose of providing credit to US property owners. The 40 largest firms raised $164.8 billion for the five years ending in 2022 – an uptick from the $132.1 billion raised for the five years ending in 2021.

Look for an expanded version of this feature in the coming year.

  1. Brookfield Los Angeles defaults could mark new phase for US office market

The difficulties facing the office sector were a key theme for Real Estate Capital USA, as reflected in this article about how a fund managed by Brookfield Properties defaulted on $784 million of loans on two well-known Los Angeles office skyscrapers.

  1. Commercial real estate confronts a lower-leverage future

This cover story from Real Estate Capital USA’s October issue digs into why the commercial real estate market is moving closer to a future in which leverage is expected to be significantly lower than it has been over the past 15 years. This is an issue we will continue to cover into 2024.

  1. DOWNLOAD: REC USA’s Real Estate Lending Deals

Data continues to be of paramount importance for our readers, who made our weekly recap of newly originated loans one of the most-read stories in 2023. This year, we have expanded the scope of firms included in the database, which we have also used to track trends in the market.

  1. FDIC looks to offload Signature Bank loan portfolio by year’s end

The sale of Signature Bank’s $33.2 billion commercial real estate loan portfolio was closely watched throughout 2023, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation kicked off the bidding process for the New York-based institution’s loan book September 5. Real Estate Capital USA has continued to follow the situation as it has unfolded.

  1. BentallGreenOak’s singular focus

An in-depth interview with BentallGreenOak’s Abbe Franchot Borok, managing director and head of US debt, proved to be an extremely popular read over the past year. In the article, Borok lays out the firm’s strategy and discusses how BGO will continue to expand its US lending base.

  1. Oaktree launches capital raising for fourth real estate debt fund

Capital raising is always of significant interest to our readers, particularly as a dearth of bank lenders has opened the door for private lenders. This was exemplified in a November story about Oaktree Capital Management’s kicking off more fundraising efforts for its Oaktree Real Estate Credit Income Fund.

  1. State of relations: How the lending order is being shaken up

Our cover story from the June 2023 issue on how the established order of the US commercial real estate lending landscape is being shaken up was another must-read this year, with the article delving into how bank lenders have been scaling back at a time when borrowers need to refinance an estimated $1.3 trillion of loan maturities.

  1. Preferred equity becomes the preferred lifeline

A key theme in 2024 was the way in which preferred equity, long an important component of a commercial real estate capital stack, started to become the structure of choice for many lenders seeking to originate financings that bridge the gap between a senior loan and sponsor equity.

  1. More signs point to 2024 commercial real estate transaction reboot

And finally, a story from March about when the commercial real estate market would reboot rounded out the top 10 most-read articles. Although market participants were expecting to see transactions rebound in 2023, it was starting to become apparent that a recovery would be longer and slower than expected.