Real Estate Faces ‘Existential Crisis’

(Bloomberg) — Cheap funding costs have extended a lifeline to many troubled companies, slowing the pace of U.S. bankruptcy filings, but shops, offices and hotels have been particularly vulnerable to the pandemic this month.


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The real estate industry is “facing an existential crisis of what’s next,” said Sarah Borders, a partner focused on restructuring at law firm King & Spalding. She expects pressure to remain on retail as more shopping happens online and says office real estate will suffer as employees delay a return to work.

A unit of Eagle Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns corporate, leisure and airport hotels across the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 last week. Department store chain Belk Inc. is nearing a deal to file for bankruptcy with plans to hand an ownership stake to lenders, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Eleven companies with more than $50 million of liabilities have filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. so far this year, a relative slowdown compared with the 20 filed each month on average last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

chart, bar chart, histogram: Relative Calm

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Relative Calm

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