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Lehman's legacy was felt acutely by New Zealand listed property entities with assets worth billions of dollars.
The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings in the United States on September 15 last year had huge repercussions for commercial and industrial real estate here.
Residential property has never quite recovered from the blow dealt by that collapse and other factors. Prices and sale volumes are still suppressed.
Craig Tyson, ING (NZ) investment manager, said Lehman's fall hit our property market hard.
"It simply sucked the oxygen out of the sector. Don't underestimate the impact of it because it made it much harder for our listed property entities to get money. It was a huge change, just staggering," says Tyson whose firm is the largest investor in listed property businesses.
With the anniversary of that collapse tomorrow, real estate experts are pondering the effects of the fallout.
One website business with 100,000 properties listed, plots the exact date as a turning point.
Realestate.co.nz has pinpointed September 15 to illustrate the downturn in residential inquiries, showing how people lost confidence and sat on their money from then on.
Much of the financial panic has ebbed away in the last year. But the country's housing market, where most of our wealth is held, continues to feel the longer-term effects of that US bankruptcy. Around 72,000 residential properties are sold annually for about $24 billion and the country has about 1.4 million houses worth a median $340,000 which equates to $476 billion..
Realestate.co.nz has specifically blamed September 15 for a big buyer inquiry slump.
New Zealand's listed property business, which owns real estate worth $6.8 billion and rents 2.6 million square metres of net lettable floor space, also continues to feel the fallout from September 15 last year. The NZX businesses have become property sellers instead of buyers.
AMP NZ Office Trust has $1.3 billion in property here and it needed almost $500 million in new debt facilities before October this year. It was negotiating new debt deals when Lehman fell.
Tyson cites those negotiations in particular as a dramatic instance when the actions of New York's bankers reached into the pockets of Wellington-headquartered real estate investors.
"New Zealand's largest listed investor in prime commercial office property has confirmed that it has taken the opportunity to renew 50 per cent of its bank debt facility with its two existing banks," said Rob Lang, chief executive of the trust's manager, last November.
The trust's bank debt of US$485 million had been due to expire "in its entirety" in October this year, he said, so he went on the front foot and sought the money well in advance.
As it transpired, he only got half that amount from two banks - BNZ and Westpac provided US$242.5 million on a new three-year term - and went to the markets earlier this year for the rest.
Much to some professional investment institutions' displeasure, the trust raised US$201.3 million in new equity capital through a pro-rata renounceable rights issue this year.
Other listed property businesses seeking to renew debt facilities around the same time were Goodman Property Trust and Property For Industry. Not only did the cost of capital increase but banks also raised rates on undrawn facilities, Tyson said.
Tyson said banks began to seek security over individual assets owned by NZX-listed businesses rather than over their entire portfolios. This was a profound change in their approach to debt and equity.
Alistair Helm, realestate.co.nz's chief executive, said September 15 was a seminal date for our housing market and he has often cited a chart showing this in presentations.
"The chart uses the weekly data of the number of user sessions based on a basket of real estate websites [Harcourts, Trade Me, Barfoots etc] thereby representing the total of all visitor traffic to real estate listings in New Zealand.," Helm said.
Our property liquidity, debt and prices remain dented by events which happened 364 days ago.