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Commercial Property Lending Slows As High Prices Stall Deals

Traditional lenders like banks and insurance companies have slowed their commercial real estate lending activity, and experts foresee the trend continuing well into 2017.

Building, skyscraper pexels

Lending was down 3% last year from 2015 levels, and lenders closed $491B worth of mortgage loans in 2016, according to new statistics from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The slowdown in lending was spurred by fewer property transactions taking place in need of loans, and the downtrend is expected to continue this year as investors grow increasingly cautious in their dealings. Investors spent 10% less on U.S. commercial properties during the first two months of 2017 than they did during the same period a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reports, and experts attribute the decline to rising property prices.

One sector that is seeing a marked decline in lending activity due to fewer deals and tighter standards is retail. Equity Group Investments chairman Sam Zell recently said commercial real estate is overpriced, making it hard for buyers to justify entering the market. And with the sector experiencing an excess of bankruptcies and massive job cuts, mall landlords are finding it more difficult to secure loans.