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What Dead Malls Tell Us About the Future of Commercial Real Estate

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There's been a lot of worry over the future of commercial real estate — especially the outlook for office buildings — in light of higher interest rates and the trend towards work from home. But years ago, Wall Street was worried about a different type of CRE: shopping malls. Back in the 2010s, loans backing malls were souring fast, as customers ordered more online and major anchor tenants (like Sears) shuttered their doors. There were sites such as Deadmalls.com that tracked closures around the country, complete with apocalyptic-looking photos of empty buildings. But of course, while the overall number of shopping malls in the US has dropped, not all of them disappeared. Some have even thrived. So what can the shopping mall experience tell us about the outlook for offices and the broader commercial real estate market? On this episode we speak with Liza Crawford, a long-time CRE veteran and trader of commercial mortgage-backed bonds, who's now co-head of securitized at asset manager TCW.

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