Commercial Real Estate Loan (CRE)

Commercial Real Estate Loan (CRE) is income-producing real estate that is used solely for business purposes, such as retail centers, office complexes, hotels, and apartments. Financing – including the acquisition, development, and construction of these properties – is typically accomplished through commercial real estate loans: mortgage loans secured by liens on commercial, rather than residential, property.

Just as with residential loans, banks and independent lenders are actively involved in making loans on the commercial real estate. Also, insurance companies, pension funds, private investors and other capital sources, make loans for the commercial real estate.

Let’s take a look at commercial real estate loans: how they differ from residential loans, their characteristics and what lenders look for.

Individuals vs. Entities

While residential mortgages are typically made to individual borrowers, commercial real estate loans are often made to business entities (e.g., corporations, developers, partnerships, funds, and trusts). These entities are often formed for the specific purpose of owning commercial real estate.

An entity may not have a financial track record or any credit history, in which case the lender may require the principals or owners of the entity to guarantee the loan. This provides the lender with an individual (or group of individuals) with a credit history and/or financial track record – and from whom they can recover in the event of loan default. If this type of guaranty is not required by the lender, and the property is the only means of recovery in the event of loan default, the loan is called a non-recourse loan, meaning that the lender has no recourse against anyone or anything other than the property.

Loan Repayment Schedules

A residential mortgage is a type of amortized loan in which the debt is repaid in regular installments over a period of time. The most popular residential mortgage product is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Residential buyers have other options, as well, including 25-year and 15-year mortgages. Longer amortization periods typically involve smaller monthly payments and higher total interest costs over the life of the loan, while shorter amortization periods generally entail larger monthly payments and lower total interest costs. Residential loans are amortized over the life of the loan so that the loan is fully repaid at the end of the loan term. A borrower with a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5%, for example, would make 360 monthly payments of $1,073.64, after which the loan would be fully repaid.

Unlike residential loans, the terms of commercial loans typically range from five years (or less) to 20 years, and the amortization period is often longer than the term of the loan. A lender, for example, might make a commercial loan for a term of seven years with an amortization period of 30 years. In this situation, the investor would make payments for seven years of an amount based on the loan being paid off over 30 years, followed by one final “balloon” payment of the entire remaining balance on the loan. For example, an investor with a $1 million commercial loan at 7% would make monthly payments of $6,653.02 for seven years, followed by a final balloon payment of $918,127.64 that would pay off the loan in full.

The length of the loan term and the amortization period will affect the rate the lender charges. Depending on the investor’s credit strength, these terms may be negotiable. In general, the longer the loan repayment schedule, the higher the interest rate.

Loan-to-Value Ratios

Another way that commercial and residential loans differ is in the loan-to-value ratio (LTV): a figure that measures the value of a loan against the value of the property. A lender calculates LTV by dividing the amount of the loan by the lesser of the property’s appraised value or purchase price. For example, the LTV for a $90,000 loan on a $100,000 property would be 90% ($90,000 ÷ $100,000 = 0.9, or 90%).

For both commercial and residential loans, borrowers with lower LTVs will qualify for more favorable financing rates than those with higher LTVs. The reason: They have more equity (or stake) in the property, which equals less risk in the eyes of the lender.

Commercial loan LTVs, in contrast, generally fall into the 65% to 80% range. While some loans may be made at higher LTVs, they are less common. The specific LTV often depends on the loan category. For example, a maximum LTV of 65% may be allowed for raw land, while an LTV of up to 80% might be acceptable for a multifamily construction. There are also private mortgages available for commercial lending.

Debt-Service Coverage Ratio

Commercial lenders also look at the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR), which compares a property’s annual net operating income (NOI) to its annual mortgage debt service (including principal and interest), measuring the property’s ability to service its debt. It is calculated by dividing the NOI by the annual debt service. For example, a property with $140,000 in NOI and $100,000 in annual mortgage debt service would have a DSCR of 1.40 ($140,000 ÷ $100,000 = 1.4). The ratio helps lenders determine the maximum loan size based on the cash flow generated by the property.

A DSCR of less than 1 indicates a negative cash flow. For example, a DSCR of .92 means that there is only enough NOI to cover 92% of annual debt service. In general, commercial lenders look for DSCRs of at least 1.25 to ensure adequate cash flow. A lower DSCR may be acceptable for loans with shorter amortization periods and/or properties with stable cash flows. Higher ratios may be required for properties with volatile cash flows – for example, hotels, which lack the long-term (and therefore, more predictable) tenant leases commonly to other types of the commercial real estate.

Interest Rates and Fees

Interest rates on commercial loans are generally higher than on residential loans. Also, commercial real estate loans usually involve fees that add to the overall cost of the loan, including appraisal, environmental report, legal, loan application, loan origination and/or survey fees. Some costs must be paid up front before the loan is approved (or rejected), while others apply annually. For example, a loan may have a one-time loan origination fee of 1%, due at the time of closing, and an annual fee of one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) until the loan is fully paid. A $1 million loan, for example, might require a 1% loan origination fee equal to $10,000 to be paid up front, with a 0.25% fee of $2,500 paid annually (in addition to interest).


A commercial real estate loan may have restrictions on prepayment, designed to preserve the lender’s anticipated yield on a loan. If the investors settle a debt before the loan’s maturity date, they will likely have to pay prepayment penalties. There are four primary types of “exit” penalties for paying off a loan early:

  • Prepayment Penalty. This is the most basic prepayment penalty, calculated by multiplying the current outstanding balance by a specified prepayment penalty.
  • Interest Guarantee. The lender is entitled to a specified amount of interest, even if the loan is paid off early. For example, a loan may have a 10% interest rate guaranteed for 60 months, with a 5% exit fee after that.
  • Lockout. The borrower cannot pay off the loan before a specified period, such as a 5-year lockout.
  • Defeasance. A substitution of collateral. Instead of paying cash to the lender, the borrower exchanges new collateral (usually Treasury securities) for the original loan collateral. High penalties can be attached to this method of paying off a loan.

Prepayment terms are identified in the loan documents and can be negotiated along with other loan terms in commercial real estate loans. Options should be understood ahead of time and evaluated before paying off a loan early.

The Bottom Line

With commercial real estate, it is usually an investor (often a business entity) that purchases the property, leases out space and collects rent from the businesses that operate within the property: The investment is intended to be an income-producing property.

When evaluating commercial real estate loans, lenders consider the loan’s collateral; the creditworthiness of the entity (or principals/owners), including three to five years of financial statements and income tax returns; and financial ratios, such as the loan-to-value ratio and the debt-service coverage ratio.

By: Daniela Peeva |  June 26, 2017

Top 5 Reasons to Use Mortgage Alliance Commercial Canada (MACC)

At Mortgage Alliance Commercial Canada (MACC) we pride ourselves in providing the best service possible. Our number one source of referral is via word of mouth, hence we make sure to conduct business professionally and diligently so all parties are satisfied. Here are 5 reasons we think you should use MACC on your next commercial transaction:


Top 5 Reasons to Use Mortgage Alliance Commercial Canada (MACC)


  1. Mortgage Alliance Commercial Canada was voted Canada’s Best Commercial Mortgage Broker for 5 years in a row by Canadian Mortgage Professionals Magazine
  2. MACC is Licensed across Canada with offices in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and BC
  3. MACC has maintained privileged relationships with all major lenders across the country to allow our clients to access better terms and conditions for their financing needs
  4. MACC will simplify and manage the entire process of the transaction from loan underwriting to lender negotiations, through to the disbursement requirements to ensure that successful completion and funding of the project
  5. MACC has 30 dedicated and experienced commercial mortgage professional at your service


If you have a current project you are working on and would like our assistance or have any questions on the best route to take, don’t hesitate to contact us.

MACC, Your commercial financing solution!

416-499-5454 ext 102


7 Steps to a Hot Commercial Real Estate Deal

Ask any real estate professional about the benefits of investing in commercial property, and you’ll likely trigger a monologue on how such properties are a better deal than residential real estate. Commercial property owners love the additional cash flow, the beneficial economies of scale, the relatively open playing field, the abundant market for good, affordable property managers and the bigger payoff from commercial real estate.

But how do you evaluate the best properties? And what separates the great deals from the duds?

Like most real estate properties, success starts with a good blueprint. Here’s one to help you evaluate a good commercial property deal.

1. Learn What the Insiders Know

To be a player in the commercial real estate, learn to think like a professional. For example, know that commercial property is valued differently than residential property. Income on commercial real estate is directly related to its usable square footage. That’s not the case with individual homes. You’ll also see a bigger cash flow with commercial property. The math is simple: you’ll earn more income on multifamily dwellings, for instance, than on a single-family home. Know also that commercial property leases are longer than on single-family residences. That paves the way for greater cash flow. Lastly, if you’re in a tighter credit environment, make sure to come knocking with cash in hand. Commercial property lenders like to see at least 30% down before they’ll give a loan the green light.

2. Map Out a Plan of Action

Setting parameters is a top priority in a commercial real estate deal. For example, ask yourself how much can you afford to pay and then shop around for mortgages to get a sense of how much you will pay over the life of the mortgage. Using tools like mortgage calculators can help you develop good estimates of the total cost of your home.

Other key questions to ask yourself include: How much do you expect to make on the deal? Who are the key players? How many tenants are already on board and paying rent? How much rental space do you need to fill?

3. Learn to Recognize a Good Deal

The top real estate pros know a good deal when they see one. What’s their secret? First, they have an exit strategy – the best deals are the ones where you know you can walk away from. It helps to have a sharp, landowner’s eye – always be looking for damage that requires repairs, knows how to assess risk and make sure to break out the calculator to ensure that the property meets your financial goals.

4. Get Familiar With Key Commercial Real Estate Metrics

The common key metrics to use for when assessing real estate include:

Net Operating Income (NOI)

The NOI of a commercial real estate property is calculated by evaluating the property’s first year gross operating income and then subtracting the operating expenses for the first year. You want to have positive NOI.

Cap Rate

A real estate property’s “cap” – or capitalization – rate, is used to calculate the value of income-producing properties. For example, an apartment complex of five units or more, commercial office buildings, and smaller strip malls are all good candidates for a cap rate determination. Cap rates are used to estimate the net present value of future profits or cash flow; the process is also called capitalization of earnings.

Cash on Cash

Commercial real estate investors who rely on financing to purchase their properties often adhere to the cash-on-cash formula to compare the first-year performance of competing properties. Cash-on-cash takes the fact that the investor in question doesn’t require 100% cash to buy the property into account, but also accounts for the fact that the investor will not keep all of the NOI because he or she must use some of it to make mortgage payments. To uncover cash on cash, real estate investors must determine the amount required to invest to purchase the property or their initial investment.

5. Look for Motivated Sellers

Like any business, customers drive real estate. Your job is to find them – specifically those who are ready and eager to sell below market value. The fact is that nothing happens – or even matters – in real estate until you find a deal, which is usually accompanied by a motivated seller. This is someone with a pressing reason to sell below market value. If your seller isn’t motivated, he or she won’t be as willing to negotiate.

6. Discover the Fine Art of Neighborhood “Farming”

An excellent way to evaluate a commercial property is to study the neighborhood it’s located in by going to open houses, talking to other neighborhood owners, and looking for vacancies.

7. Use a “Three-Pronged” Approach to Evaluate Properties

Be adaptable when searching for great deals. Use the internet, read the classified ads and hire bird dogs to find you the best properties. Real estate bird dogs can help you find valuable investment leads in exchange for a referral fee.

The Bottom Line

By and large, finding and evaluating commercial properties is not just about farming neighborhoods, getting a great price, or sending out smoke signals to bring sellers to you. At the heart of taking action is basic human communication. It’s about building relationships and rapport with property owners, so they feel comfortable talking about the good deals —and doing business with you.


By: Daniela Peeva | June 14, 2017

Proud to announce we are nominated as the Best Commercial Broker for a 4th year in a row

For the last 15 years, M. Durand has built and led a firm that has become the largest, most active pan-Canadian firm dedicated to the Commercial Mortgage Brokerage Industry. M Durand’s efforts have been recognized by his industry peers’ who have nominated him in each of the last 4 years as the best commercial mortgage broker in Canada. No other professional in the industry has seen such recognition.

Congratulations Michel!

$ 143,850,000 secured in construction financing !


Mortgage Alliance Commercial is pleased to announce that it has secured $143,850,000 in construction & project financing to support the development of Unionville Gardens Condo & Townhomes Project. Multiple lenders participated in this financing masterpiece.

Unionville Gardens has 379 condo units and 72 townhouses. This project is spearheaded by a visionary real estate developer, Wyview Group who brings to Canada a reputation for delivering quality and craftsmanship to all his endeavors.

The project is a resounding success and is currently 95% sold out with a delivery anticipated to begin as of spring of 2019.
Contact us today!
416-499-5454 ext 259 /

The BIG hit of the month!


The BIG hit of the month!





Asset Class: Multi-Unit Residential Building
Loan Amount: $4,931,800

Rate: 2.46%

Term: 10 Years

Amortization: 25 Years

Details: Conversion of 39 to 57 housing units


SEND US YOUR REFERRALS TODAY! or call (416) 499 – 5454 ext. 259


MACC Commercial Logo (3)

MACC – Your Commercial Mortgage Solution

Take Advantage of Low Rates

MACC secured funding for a $4.1M loan on June 27th at a rate of 1.88% for a 5 year term!



Not all financial institutions offer the same interest rates or the same terms and conditions. MA Commercial (MACC) has access to over 50 lenders throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. This means that your transaction or your client will be directed to the best lender.

MACC will review all options on the market to secure what is most beneficial for you or your client.
We can offer 5-7-10-15 and 20 year terms, as well as amortizations of 20-30-35 and 40 years. The rates are at historically low levels so call us today to secure the best rates for your transaction!


If you just want some general information on a potential transaction please feel free to contact us! Together, we will look at scenarios to find what suits the transaction best.

MA Commercial, your commercial mortgage solution!


(416) 499 – 5454 ext. 259 or

For all your Commercial Mortgage Needs

Just how safe is the ‘safe’ world of syndicated mortgages?

With its playful indoor slide and five-storey “bio-wall” of greenery, Toronto’s five-year-old Corus Quay building—the headquarters of Corus Entertainment—served as an inspirational backdrop for attendees of Fortress Real Development’s “Listen, Learn and Lunch” event three years ago. Attendees at the glitzy real estate event on the shore of Lake Ontario noshed on sliders and listened intently to speeches by several Fortress executives, including CEO Jawad Rathore and chief operating officer Vince Petrozza, as well as star local developers like Toronto “condo king” Brad Lamb. “There’s many ways to make money in real estate,” Lamb says in a heavily edited video of the event posted on Fortress’s YouTube channel, complete with jaunty music. “But one way to make money in real estate is the safe way, which is buying Fortress investments.” A few moments earlier, a Fortress exec trumpeted the value of the firm’s partnerships with Lamb and a Windsor, Ont.-area developer named Charles Mady, saying they are “some of the strongest partnerships you can imagine being part of.”

Fast forward to 2016: Fortress has taken over one of Mady’s projects in Barrie, Ont.—a building with 82 condo units and an eight-storey office tower—after both the development and developer ran into financial trouble. It’s a good thing Fortress stepped in, too, otherwise potentially hundreds of investors who funded Fortress’s contribution to Collier Centre through what’s known as a “syndicated mortgage” may have lost their shirts.

It was stark reminder that there’s no sure thing in the investing world, including Canada’s supposedly “proven” real estate market (to borrow another term from Fortress’s marketing). Yet Fortress has ridden a wave of enthusiasm for its housing and condo projects in recent years, as eager investors, many of them already homeowners, have sought to double down on their exposure to that overheated sector of the economy.

Headed by Rathore and Petrozza, Fortress Real Developments promises to scout out “high quality” projects with “top developers” across the country, including condos in relatively sleepy centres like Barrie, St. Catharines, Ont., and Regina. The firm then offers developers services that include everything from “analyzing and buying the land, to hiring the architects, to building the sales centre to retaining the planners who obtain permits and approvals from the city to improving the quality of the rental units.”

The real magic, however, happens on the back end…. To continue reading click here.

Commercial Properties Skyrocket in Numbers 2015

According to Real Capital Analytics, $533 billion of commercial real estate changed hands last year, up 23% from a year earlier. The volume also was roughly 4% more than what had been projected as of November 2014.

The total was still well shy of the record $574.9 billion of deal volume that took place during the market’s peak year of 2007.

Foreign investors accounted for $91.1 billion, or 17.1% of the transaction volume last year, up from the 10% average in each of the previous four years. The foreign charge was led by the Canadians, who completed $24.6 billion of deals. Those investors include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ). Ivanhoe Cambridge, an affiliate of CDPQ, purchased Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village apartment property for $5.3 billion late last year.

Investors from Singapore took the second largest piece of the foreign investment pie, completing $14.8 billion of deals in 2015. Norway followed with $8.5 billion of deals, and Chinese investors completed $6.8 billion of deals.

Under normal circumstances, foreign investors would likely increase their activity going into 2016. After all, certain restrictions have been eased as a result of changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act. (These changes were implemented with the passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015.) For instance, foreign pension funds are no longer are subject to withholdings under the original act.

However, many foreign investors are likely getting pinched by the sharp drop in oil prices. According to analysis by Morgan Stanley, Norway, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined for $18.6 billion of U.S. deals, a substantial volume. Since each country is reliant almost exclusively on oil revenue, their ability to generate cash will decline with the drop in oil prices.

In fact, as oil prices were plunging last year, sovereign wealth funds were redeeming capital from investment vehicles (not necessarily tied to real estate) to which they had committed. Morgan Stanley found that some $100 billion of capital was redeemed from 11 asset managers by oil-dependent investors last year. That trend could continue this year if oil prices continue to decline, or stabilize at today’s lower prices.

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