Report: Commercial Real Estate Lending Robust Despite Market Volatility, Trade Tensions
Geopolitical tension isn’t impacting commercial lending.
Commercial real estate lending volume in the U.S. ended Q2 at roughly the same pace as Q1, despite trade spats from Washington and ensuing market volatility. The CBRE Lending Momentum Index tracks U.S. commercial loan closings, and volume ended Q2 at a 202, barely down from the 203 seen at the close of Q1.
June lending was still down 10.6% from 2017, but CBRE forecasts continued stability for the remainder of 2018.
“The commercial mortgage lending market should remain favorable to borrowers for the balance of the year,” CBRE Global President of Debt & Structured Finance Brian Stoffers said in a prepared statement. “Loan credit spreads remain tight and underwriting standards are stable. While there is some risk to an escalation of trade disputes, this has not yet influenced credit availability or pricing.”
Lower loan maturity volumes have led to fewer originations in 2018, but conditions remain good in the commercial mortgage sector, according to CBRE’s Q2 2018 U.S. Lending Figures report. The Federal Reserve’s June short-term policy rate increase has caused the yield curve to continue to flatten, which could present an opportunity for borrowers.
“With the flattening of the yield curve, borrowers with a settled capital structure and long-term horizon may want to take advantage of long-term financing,” Stoffers said in his statement. “With the flat curve, borrowers can add significantly to loan terms for little additional expense.”
While there have been reports of a slowdown in bank-issued loans in CRE, it was a busy second quarter for traditional lenders. Banks accounted for nearly half the lending volume of private entity-issued mortgage-backed securities in Q2.
Bank lending is expected to benefit from a recently passed U.S. law that rolled back certain Dodd-Frank regulations, including those relating to High Volatility Commercial Real Estate. Under the previous law, banks were required to reserve 50% more capital when a loan was deemed HVCRE, reducing a bank’s incentive to lend for commercial projects and increasing the cost of those types of loans. The bipartisan law allows certain CRE loans to be exempt from the Basel III HVCRE rules.