Lenders Remain Active, Become More Disciplined in Early 2022; Commercial Mortgage Rates Hold at Generational Lows as Upward Pressures Build from Inflation and Ukraine Conflict Disruption
San Francisco, Calif. – Gantry, the largest independent commercial mortgage banking firm in the U.S., completed $1.07 billion of new commercial mortgage production across all major property types during Q1 2022. While market disruption from a range of significant economic forces is putting upward pressure on rates and tightening underwriting criteria, Gantry’s production totals met early projections for a healthy start to the year. Expectations remain for a productive year ahead with a broad spectrum of lending sources actively pursuing 2022 allocation targets, with variable rate allocations expected to increase substantially.
“Our first quarter production totals met expectations from the start of the year, with both lenders and borrowers remaining active and resilient in response to inflationary forces and global economic disruption from the war in Ukraine,” said Andrew Mekjavich. “Commercial real estate will remain a preferred allocation for capital, however we anticipate that the upward pressure on rates will create challenges for real estate owners seeking the last dollar of leverage, with the most competitive debt retained for more conservative owners”
Notable trends in relevant Gantry verticals include:
Gantry originated a total of 111 unique loans in Q1 2022, meeting quarterly performance expectations. During the period, the company funded loans from more than 60 unique capital sources. Life company and Bank lenders accounted for more than 85% of funded loans, with Agency lenders and bridge lenders meeting demand for higher leverage investments and value-add acquisitions in the multifamily marketplace, respectively. Banks and credit unions remain an attractive source for mid-term loan structures, with bridge lenders emerging as the preferred source for value-add financing. Additionally, life companies continue moving into the bridge lending space in pursuit of short-term yields to offset inflationary forces and now compete with debt funds and alternative lenders for properties in transition or pursuing stabilization.
“Our production in Q1 is a direct reflection of the unique blend of correspondent lenders we represent, the prudent client base we serve, and the skilled staff throughout our nine national offices” said Andrew Mekjavich.
Key trends to consider from Gantry’s Q1 2022 production totals include:
- Expect the pace and size of anticipated Fed rate increases to speed up in future quarters, putting overall economic pressure on increasing commercial real estate rates.
- Spreads have increased by as much as 50bps above typical thresholds as lenders seek to mitigate risk caused by the unforeseen economic disruptions at the top of the year
- Expect that Agency lenders will become less accessible to market rate multifamily sponsors as Freddie and Fannie mandate prioritization of affordable housing allocations.
- As interest rates increase, cap rates will compress which could affect asset pricing and slow down the pace of new investments, a trend that could manifest as soon as summer.
- Viable alternatives to CMBS structures are emerging in the marketplace for fixed rate, permanent long-term financing, particularly in the multifamily markets.
- Expect a significant increase in availability of variable rate capital in 2022 from a spectrum of capital sources, including historically fixed rate lenders seeking shorter term yield.
Gantry marked its 30th year of continuous operations as an industry leading commercial mortgage banking platform, independently owned and operated in partnership by its executive board comprised of principal producers, which still includes its founders. This milestone was celebrated in last March at a private summit in Phoenix attended by a national roster of affiliate lenders there to discuss key issues and expectations for commercial mortgage finance in 2022, followed by a company retreat focused on team building and cultural enrichment programing.
Gantry, a long-rated Primary Servicer by Standard & Poor’s, continues to see near 100% of expected performance from its now nearly $18 billion portfolio of serviced commercial mortgages spanning more than 2,100 loans in 43 states. These loans represent financings in every asset class, including hospitality, which remains the most challenged asset class post-pandemic.