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Hotel Owners Waiting To Sell May Have Missed The Boat

National Hotel
Peachtree Hotel Group CIO Jatin Desai and Walker & Dunlop VP Chris Hew speaking at Bisnow's Lodging Investment Series Sept. 21, 2016

The hotel market has seen an extended run of high prices during the recovery, but market insiders at Bisnow’s Lodging Investment Series in Washington, DC, Wednesday pointed to a number of reasons why the time to find big money deals as sellers may have already passed.

First, according to Walker & Dunlop’s Chris Hew (above, right, next to Peachtree Hotel Group CIO Jatin Desai), many banks have already hit their hotel lending limit in gateway markets like New York, Washington, DC, and Miami.

“Banks have softened toward hospitality,” Chris said, “because in the last four, five years, there’s been pretty much a bonanza in hotel lending. So they have a lot of exposure.”

Savills Executive Managing Director Marc Magazine speaking at Bisnow's Lodging Investment Series
Savills Executive Managing Director Marc Magazine speaking at a Bisnow event

Savills Studey executive managing director Marc Magazine says those looking to buy or build a hotel have had to look toward alternative lending sources, which are looking for more aggressive rates of return. Construction financing is going to be even harder to come by. 

HVS managing director Anne Lloyd-Jones and RSM's Jason Sevier at Bisnow's Lodging Investment Series, Sept. 21, 2016

HVS managing director Anne Lloyd-Jones (above, next to panel moderator Jason Sevier of RSM) said lenders have become savvy enough to ask for money put into escrow to ensure there’s enough capital to renovate five years down the road.

A lending atmosphere that's a combination of gun-shy and shrewd is lethal for some hotel deals. Jatin said a new type of buyer emerged in the last year’s feeding frenzy—Marc described it as “frothy”—in real estate capital markets, and that class is having a very different 2016 than 2015.

“These buyers put stuff under contract last year, and couldn’t get the deal done because they paid too much,” Jatin said. “Now these deals are falling through and stuff is coming back to market. Sellers are getting a dose of reality today based on prices where they were 12 months ago.”