* DTZ sees lending gap doubling to $182 bln in 2012-13
* Expects non-bank lenders to provide $75 bln
* Would provide just sufficient equity to bridge gap
LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - Insurers seeking to enter Europe's commercial property funding market could help building owners refinance debt as banks, their traditional source of finance, cut back lending to meet tougher regulations.
Insurers already active in the market include Met Life and AXA Group, while others such as AIG , Jefferies and New York Life were also eyeing opportunities, property consultancy DTZ said on Friday.
DTZ said the gap between Europe's property debt and the money available to refinance it would more than double in the next two years to $182 billion.
The funding gap was unmatched by the $109 billion of available equity, the consultancy said in a report.
"(But) just as we see banks retreating, we also see a growing number of insurers and other non-bank lenders seeking to lend across Europe ... This would shrink Europe's funding gap to a net $107 billion, eroding most of the burden imposed by regulators. On this basis we see just sufficient equity to bridge the gap," DTZ said.
These new lenders could provide capacity of up to $75 billion in the period 2012-13, DTZ said.
Europe's funding gap has been exacerbated by tougher capital requirements set by the European Banking Authority which have forced many of the region's traditional lenders such as Commerzbank's Eurohypo to stop or slash lending to the sector.
In contrast, DTZ said it saw no issues with North America and Asia, as the former did not have a debt funding gap while there was more than sufficient bank equity available to bridge Asia's limited funding gap.