Keith Watters has been in the commercial mortgage business for many years. As an experienced agent, he is a great asset to the Mortgage Alliance Commercial team. Over the years Keith has been faced with almost every challenge possible when helping clients obtain financing. As a mortgage broker, he gets to see all the action from the center field – both from the lender side and the retail side of the business. So when the Canadian Mortgage Professionals interviewed him about the state of the commercial retail market, here is what he had to say:
Q: What’s the state of the commercial retail market right now?
A: There’s lots available. As long as the interest rates stay low, the market will still be going. That’s what’s driving this whole market now – the low cost of borrowing.
Q: How should a lender decide whether to make a deal on a retail property?
A: the lenders I work with usually lend just on real estate. But then they look at the applicant, the retail outlet, as the guarantor. They tend to be real estate lenders rather than business lenders. But in the same breath, they have to make sure that retail outlet has the background experience and the cash flow to service the debt. That’s why they go back, usually, to a three-year history to see how [the business] is performing. If it’s a retail outlet, most lenders will lend on 65% of the value, and they’ll lend on “How would that property rent if it were vacant?”
Q: With retail being a tough market even in good years, how are lenders’ attitudes toward that business right now?
A: Lenders aren’t backing away. Right now in this market, we have too much money chasing not enough deals, so lenders are, at least in the Canadian market, tending to be fairly aggressive – as long as there’s real estate value there and the applicant has good cash flow.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the commercial market over the next year?
A: I think availability. There’s a lot of money chasing good commercial deals. As soon as a good commercial plaza comes on the market, it’s just like residential housing – there’s multiple offers.
Article Reference: http://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/contents/e-magazine.aspx?id=191044