Blackstone Group is closing a real estate fund that used leverage to load up on commercial mortgage backed securities, investments that have slumped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blackstone Real Estate Income Master Fund, with about $1.1 billion of total investments at year-end, including those purchased with leverage, will sell the assets and distribute the proceeds to shareholders, the company said in a regulatory filing this week. Its net assets have declined from almost $773 million at year-end to $553 million as of May 31.
The fund suffered a 24% decline in March as markets swooned. It had generated an average annual return of 5.52% over five years through 2019.
CMBS delinquencies in the U.S. surged to 3.59% in June from 1.46% in May, the largest month-over-month increase on record, according to Fitch Ratings. With consumers staying home and shopping online, hotels and mall-based retailers are missing mortgage and rent payments.