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The Impact of Interest Rates on Commercial Mortgages


Interest rates directly influence commercial mortgage rates. While current interest rates for commercial mortgages are not particularly high in a historical context, the recent hikes seem dramatic compared to the low rates in the past decade. As a result, rising interest rates have led to a decline in commercial real estate lending activity. Borrowers are choosing to wait and hope for rates to decline or stabilize before taking out commercial mortgages.


For example, according to a Reuters article, commercial lending activity has declined, with CMBS and CRE-CLO issuance dropping significantly in 2022. The Federal Reserve's signals of more rate hikes create uncertainty in the commercial lending market. Borrowers with maturing loans may seek extensions or modifications, but lenders may require added structure or reserves. In a high-interest rate environment, borrowers may need to seek alternative sources of financing or face defaults and workout scenarios.


Understanding the Relationship Between Interest Rates and Commercial Mortgage Rates


Interest rates are the price of debt and drive asset values. Base rates used to price commercial mortgage loans have grown significantly in response to the Federal Reserve's actions. The income approach is the most common valuation technique for real estate, and interest rates affect the cost of financing and mortgage rates, which in turn affect property values. Real estate values fall when required returns on competing investments rise, and they increase when interest rates fall. Changing interest rates affect numerous aspects of real estate, including the availability of capital and demand for investment.


For instance, according to Eisner Amper, the rise in interest rates in 2022 had a significant impact on the real estate industry. Commercial mortgage rates doubled, leading to lower loan proceeds and reduced leveraged returns for borrowers. The unpredictability of interest rates, inflation, and economic performance has slowed the commercial real estate transaction market. Owners have faced inflationary pressures and increased operating costs, while rent growth has slowed. Maturing mortgages can pose challenges for owners, as higher interest rates may require additional equity to extend or refinance the debt.


The Effects of Rising Interest Rates on Commercial Real Estate Lending Activity


Higher interest rates are creating challenges in underwriting commercial mortgages, as property incomes have not kept pace with borrowing costs. Loan proceeds are reduced, and borrowers are requesting greater flexibility to prepay their loans. The cost of hedging products, such as interest rate protection agreements, has skyrocketed. Additionally, commercial lending activity has declined, with CMBS and CRE-CLO issuance dropping significantly in 2022. The Federal Reserve signals more rate hikes, which could further impact the commercial lending market.


For example, according to Investopedia, interest rates have a significant impact on the value of income-producing real estate. The income approach, the most common valuation technique for real estate, is affected by interest rates. Real estate values fall when required returns on competing investments rise, and they increase when interest rates fall. Changing interest rates also affect the availability of capital and demand for investment in the real estate market.


Challenges in Underwriting Commercial Mortgages in a High-Interest Rate Environment


Higher interest rates are creating challenges in underwriting commercial mortgages, as property incomes have not kept pace with borrowing costs. Loan proceeds are reduced, and borrowers are requesting greater flexibility to prepay their loans. The cost of hedging products, such as interest rate protection agreements, has increased significantly in a high-interest rate environment.


Effects on Loan Proceeds and Borrower Flexibility


Higher interest rates reduce loan proceeds for commercial mortgages. Borrowers are requesting greater flexibility to prepay their loans to mitigate the impact of higher interest rates. Loan proceeds are reduced, leading to challenges in financing commercial real estate projects.


The Cost of Hedging Products in a High-Interest Rate Environment


The cost of hedging products, such as interest rate protection agreements, has increased significantly in a high-interest rate environment. Borrowers and lenders are facing higher costs for hedging against interest rate fluctuations. The increased cost of hedging products adds to the overall cost of financing commercial mortgages.


Trends in Commercial Lending Activity and the Federal Reserve's Outlook


Commercial lending activity, including CMBS and CRE-CLO issuance, has declined in response to rising interest rates. The Federal Reserve's signals of more rate hikes create uncertainty in the commercial lending market. Borrowers with maturing loans may seek extensions or modifications, but lenders may require added structure or reserves. Borrowers may need to seek alternative sources of financing or face defaults and workout scenarios.


Options for Borrowers with Maturing Loans in a High-Interest Rate Environment


Borrowers with maturing loans in a high-interest rate environment have the option to seek extensions or modifications. However, lenders may require added structure or reserves to mitigate the impact of higher interest rates. Borrowers may also need to seek alternative sources of financing or face defaults and workout scenarios.


Seeking Alternative Sources of Financing and Avoiding Defaults


In a high-interest rate environment, borrowers may need to explore alternative sources of financing to mitigate the impact of rising interest rates. The commercial real estate industry will need to be creative in securing mutually beneficial loans during this volatile period. Defaults and workout scenarios become more likely in a high-interest rate environment.


Creative Solutions for Securing Mutually Beneficial Loans


The commercial real estate industry needs to be creative in securing mutually beneficial loans during this volatile period. Exploration of alternative financing options and strategies can help overcome the challenges posed by higher interest rates.



Rising interest rates have a significant impact on commercial mortgages. They influence commercial mortgage rates, affect underwriting and loan proceeds, and increase the cost of hedging products. The commercial lending market has experienced a decline in activity, and borrowers with maturing loans face challenges in a high-interest rate environment. It is crucial for borrowers and lenders to explore alternative financing options and adapt to the current interest rate environment to ensure the success of commercial real estate projects.




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