Commercial Loan Refinance – Current Market Conditions

Trying to get a commercial loan refinance closed right now is difficult as the capital markets continue to take it on the “chin.” The small balance arena, meaning mortgages between $400,000 – $5,000,000 are definitely not immune as guidelines tighten with in this sector. Beyond the obvious lower loan to values, increased debt coverage ratios, etc there is a real sense of confusion as to what the rules are among all the players involved; from huge banks to small brokers.

Normally guidelines are known and clearly set. Brokers or other professionals are able to qualify a loan and figure out which lenders would be interested. However, it now seems banks are generally struggling with what they want to lend on. Property types, loan amount, pricing, etc, are changing on a daily basis. Two months ago this was not the case.

The biggest ‘victim” of this seems to be special purpose properties, as they have quickly been pushed out by many lenders. Hotels, automotive related, restaurants, self storage etc have lost probably 40% of their former loan options. Many banks have just stopped quoting on these properties.

Another issue that has put the brakes on many commercial loan refinances has been the “small town restriction”. Many of the largest lender in nation will no longer look at deals if the population of the town the property is in is not over 50,000.

Rates have also been very touchy issues as of late. Normally margins that lenders charge on top of an index is around .3% from one bank to the next. Meaning for example if you where to get 5 quotes they would all be within .3% of each other. Oddly we are now seeing rates across the board. We recently saw a difference of 2.5% among 4 different banks on the same loan.

It seems that the current conditions, and how those will affect an individual’s options on their commercial loan refinance will be at the mercy of the market. Hopefully we will soon see an end of the subprime mess and the effects it’s had on the cmbs market.

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