Good News in the Debt Markets

We have come a long way since the “depression” of 2008.  For real estate, lending all but dried up and many loans were being called in (some are still in jeopardy.) But times are changing.  For the right borrower, for the right real estate, money is available from a number of sources and competition for deals is back (with some caveats.)

According to lending guru George Fantini’s Key Trends from the First Quarter 2011 Lender Survey, the recently moribund conduit market (securitized lenders) is back for projects with good cash flows.  According to him, the number of credible originators has doubled to 20 with 10 year loans in the mid to high 5’s (lower with 5 year terms.) However, unlike the other lenders (banks and insurance companies who offer terms up to 30 years for $2-30mm loans), they are only interested in the $10mm plus market.   The trade off is that the conduits are not as conservative when it comes to underwriting, although big banks have been talking about 75% loan-to-value ratios (up to 80% for apartments).

Insurance companies are offering rates from the upper 4’s into the 6’s depending on the loan term (the shorter the term, the lower the rate.)

However, be prepared to sign personally for these loans, unless you are dealing with a high quality product (like apartments) or are willing to lower your loan-to value ration substantially.

But the good news is that debt is back and the world of real estate is starting to normalize.  That won’t completely happen until we see some serious increases in employment and corporate/personal spending.

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