The number of rating agency downgrades and reviews are expected to increase over the next year or so, according to Barclays Capital analysts.
The focus on U.K. deals will continue, analysts said, as weakness in the letting markets from tenants and rents stresses the cash flows securing the underlying loans. These are expected to trigger more loan arrears and defaults.
Analysts said they also expect more rating actions on European deals, as both property values and rental cash flows are beginning to be more negatively affected. "But, these trends are likely to be less severe in Europe compared to the U.K., therefore, we expect fewer downgrades," explained analysts.
Fitch Ratings is likely to remain the most aggressive on downgrades, with Moody's Investors Service possibly trying to catch up as it finalizes it's analysis on the large number of reviews announced last month.
"Standard & Poor's could expand its downgrade focus to 'AAA', if things deteriorate dramatically from here, but, we do not expect this to happen, leaving the S&P ratings relatively more stable," Barclays analysts said. "This is probably more in line with most investors' expectations. We have not accounted for any changes in rating methodologies, which have been announced in other sectors and could have a considerable negative impact."