Monday, July 20, 2009

July 2009 Market Watch

Economic Outlook:
The FOMC met at the end of June and had some interesting insight into the future of the US economy. According to the Department of Commerce, US real GDP will begin to stabilize in the second half of ‘09 after contracting about 6% in each of the two previous quarters. This is an indication that economic growth might begin in 2010. A few reasons for the positive outlook include a slowing of speculative investment in the oil and housing markets, improved credit flows expected to unlock pent-up demand, slowing of businesses liquidation of inventory and other self-correcting actions, and bold changes in global monetary and fiscal policy.

Lending Environment:
In late June, the Mortgage Bankers Association released its First Quarter report showing a dramatic drop in loan origination from ‘08 to ‘09. Overall, originations are down about 70% from First Quarter ‘08. There was a 96% decrease for CMBS originations, 80% for banks, 60% for life insurance companies, and 25% decrease for GSEs (Fannie & Freddie). Even with the large decrease in originations, life insurance companies and GSEs are still very active in today’s market.

Refinancing Challenges:
The first two quarters of ‘09 have also brought some new challenges to light for many borrowers. Many loans that were originated in the past five to ten years are underwater or showing sings of stress due to lower rental rates, increasing vacancies, and higher underwriting capitalization rates. Many borrowers are realizing that they will need to bring equity to the table when refinancing an aggressive loan that was made less than ten years ago. It is prudent now more than ever to think through financing options well in advance of a loan maturity. Many proactive owners are already refinancing debt that expires three to five years out as current interest rates are historically low and there is a general uncertainty about inflation and the future of interest rates.

Commercial RE Loans:
There are commercial real estate lenders active in today’s market. Life insurance companies typically have an allocation each year for commercial real estate loans that they need to make in order to match debt to the different insurance products they sell. Life insurance companies alone originated about $2.62 billion in commercial real estate mortgages in First Quarter ‘09. With the recent spike in treasuries over the past two months, we have seen commercial mortgage rates rise slightly but they are still at all-time lows. It is always best to discuss financing needs early and often, so you aren’t surprised when it's time to obtain financing for an acquisition or to refinance an existing loan.

June 2009 Treasury Highlights:
• June 10 Year Treasury High: 3.95% on June 10th
• June 10 Year Treasury Low: 3.48% on June 29th

Issues Affecting Commercial Mortgage Rates:
• Steepened yield signaling an economic recovery may begin toward the end of 2009 and into 2010
• US Treasury rates remain volatile as the issuance of treasuries by the US government is offset by the treasury repurchase program
• Federal Reserve voted to hold the Fed funds rate target at 0-0.25%

No comments: