Real Estate Billionaire Tom Barrack Says Commercial Mortgage Market Is On Brink of Collapse Due to Coronavirus Plague

Thomas Barrack, Executive Chairman, Colony Northstar, speaks at the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 1, 2018. Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Real estate billionaire Tom Barrack said the U.S. commercial-mortgage market is on the brink of collapse and predicted a “domino effect” of catastrophic economic consequences if banks and government don’t take prompt action to keep borrowers from defaulting.

Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., warns in a white paper of a chain reaction of margin calls, mass foreclosures, evictions and, potentially, bank failures due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent shutdown of much of the U.S. economy. The paper was posted late Sunday on online publishing platform Medium.

“Loan repayment demands are likely to escalate on a systemic level, triggering a domino effect of borrower defaults that will swiftly and severely impact the broad range of stakeholders in the entire real estate market, including property and home owners, landlords, developers, hotel operators and their respective tenants and employees,” he wrote.

Barrack said the impact could dwarf that of the Great Depression.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Erik Schatzker