Commercial Real Estate Lending Trends

By: Eric Morgan

One of the signs of the times that indicates how any nation's economy is doing can often be determined by how well businesses are expanding in real estate. Right now, there is a continued expansion of commercial real estate and loans for these new projects. The current commercial real estate lending trends indicate that now is a good time to expand your business with a building program or new land purchase.

While the housing market has certainly taken a real dip, and has hurt the sub prime lenders in particular, commercial lending goes on. Many new projects, especially in the income producing properties realm, is seeing solid expansion. This includes the construction of office parks and buildings, multi-family dwellings, hotels, and other general land development programs.

One particular market that has held up its own is office rentals. The demand for office space - even at increased rent values - has grown. This is especially true in New York City (Manhattan), and some other large cities, too. This means that the available office rental space has actually decreased as office space is being filled - much to the owner's delight. In New York City, office space is being grabbed up - even though the rent has risen to nearly $70 per square foot.

A few other cities, however, still show a slow office rent market. In fact, much office space remains unoccupied. In those cities, though, where office space is in demand, the number of office buildings and office parks are certainly on the rise, as developers rush to fill in the gap. Commercial lenders are also seeing the need and providing the necessary bridge loans and commercial loans for these massive projects.

When compared to last year, there is an increase in the overall amount of activity in commercial real estate lending. This shows a growth of about 0.8 percent that is expected in the third quarter of 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Over the last few years, commercial real estate lending has shown a strong increase. The Federal Reserve (Philadelphia) indicates that large mortgage lenders have gone from about 150% of loans (compared to non-commercial) back in the 1990's, to over 300% last year.

The number of commercial real estate loans is increasing and lenders are continuing to offer excellent interest rates. The market has begun to show a slight decrease in recent days, but for right now, the rates needed to expand business could not be much better. The qualifications needed to get such a loan also could not be much softer than they are right now, too.

Seeing this kind of commercial real estate trend, and the market's favor for this kind of loan, you also may be able to benefit greatly by investing now in a new building project or land development program. Check on availability of office space (in particular) in the area, find out how fast it is being secured by new businesses, and if it is in demand, be ready to move on the opportunity. Scope out possible land available, or existing structures that can easily be renovated into office space, get your paperwork in order, and talk to a commercial lender about your goals before someone beats you to it. Now is the best time for action on this kind of opportunity, while commercial loans are still available at great terms.

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