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Commercial Mortgage Defaults: Proportional Hazards Estimation Using Individual Loan Histories


  • Kerry D. Vandell
  • Walter Barnes
  • David Hartzell
  • Dennis Kraft
  • William Wendt


This paper examines the theory of commercial mortgage default and tests it using a data set of 2,899 loan histories provided by a major multi-line insurance company. A default model is estimated which relates subsequent default incidence and timing to contemporaneous loan term, borrower, property and economic/market conditions. Maximum likelihood estimation is used to estimate a hazard function predicting conditional probability of default over time. Results confirm many expected default relationships, in particular the dominance of loan terms and property value trends over time in affecting default. The effectiveness of the model in discriminating between "good" and "bad" loans is explored. Implications for underwriting practice and credit risk diversification are noted. Finally, suggestions are made for extending these results in pricing applications. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerry D. Vandell & Walter Barnes & David Hartzell & Dennis Kraft & William Wendt, 1993. "Commercial Mortgage Defaults: Proportional Hazards Estimation Using Individual Loan Histories," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 21(4), pages 451-480.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:21:y:1993:i:4:p:451-480

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