Defaults and late payments on commercial mortgages bundled into securities could surpass 7% this year as falling rental income and scarce credit make it harder for borrowers to pay debt, the research firm Reis Inc. said.

The last time overall commercial delinquency rates broke 6% was in 1991, after the savings and loan crisis, according to Reis.

"It would not be surprising to see delinquency rates rise past 7% by the end of the year," Reis analysts wrote in a report. "Downward pressure on net operating income and declining property values continue to make refinancing for existing loans a challenge."

Defaults and delinquencies rose to 2.99% of outstanding balances last quarter, from 1.8% in the first quarter and 0.66% a year earlier, Reis said. (The loans are deemed delinquent when 30 to 89 days past due and in default when 90 or more days late.)

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