Multifamily lending update: Quality over quantity

first_imgIn what ways has the bank changed the way it approaches lending as a result of the recovery? I believe that our credit decisions are more heavily influenced today by the quality of the borrower than was the case leading up to the downturn. While there always has to be a strong eye on the quality of the asset and market, the experience and track record of the borrower in question is very important today; particularly when it comes to the proverbial request to “stretch.” How has multifamily lending evolved since the recovery began?From a 10,000-foot perspective, during the earliest stage of the recovery, there were very few non-government sponsored lenders in the market such as life companies and banks.  The primary source of apartment lending capital was government related GSE’s; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA/HUD.  The entire industry was fortunate to have the government’s liquidity support during that time.  As the recovery evolved we saw more and more non- government related lenders such as life insurance companies, CMBS and the banking sector gain their appetite back.  Today, the bench of available lending sources interested in apartments is once again very strong.On a more deal-by-deal level, we are seeing underwriting guidelines become much more aggressive, which is helping to generate higher available loan dollars, longer periods of interest-only payments and the willingness of lenders to seek loan opportunities in secondary and tertiary markets. Charlie Williams, SVP at BerkadiaBy Charlie Williams, Senior vice president, Berkadia What do developers and investors have to be able to show lenders to improve their odds of getting financed?It is important that the major aspects of the developer’s business plan are viable and supportable. Lenders are not interested in relying on any assumption of a home run today. A developer who can outline a clear plan that will achieve good, but reliable results matters most. A developer’s ability to then solve for unforeseen obstacles by using its track record of experience and capital are always important. A developer should also include a thorough description of a project’s competitive position in market relative to other projects. What multifamily projects are “hot” for lenders? There are many areas of interest, but seniors housing comes to mind. The need for affordable, high quality rental housing to meet the demand of this growing population has a lot of attention today. This includes not only apartments geared towards seniors, but housing for those transitioning into the work force in areas where the jobs are being created. Also, investor demand for niche assets such as manufactured housing communities is very strong. For example, it is not uncommon for a 55+ manufactured home community to sell at a lower cap rate today than a class-A apartment.last_img

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