Economic uncertainty is changing lending practices, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t financing available for commercial real estate in Los Angeles.
The trick, though, is finding that financing and getting the right terms.
“Whatever underwriting people were using in January and February has clearly changed now,” said Kevin Shannon, co-head of capital markets at Newmark Knight Frank. “The loan terms — they are getting so dramatically different from what they were.”
While some lenders are “afraid to make bad loans,” Shannon added, availability has improved because interest rates are still low at a federal level and smaller regional banks are still writing loans.
“This is an opportunity for us to get out in front of new clients,” said Hamid Hussain, president of real estate and commercial banking at Banc of California.
“We’re in a strong position with our portfolio,” he said. “We are reaching out proactively (about loans) to people who may or may not be existing clients.”
Some companies are even creating new ways to make loans.
Brentwood-based Archway Fund and principals with Oakhurst Advisors of West Los Angeles have recapitalized the fund to create Archway Capital, which will provide short-term, fixed-rate debt between $2 million and $20 million in the form of interest-only loans.
Bobby Khorshidi, president and chief executive of Archway Capital, said the venture had been under discussion for a while.
Archway and Oakhurst, he said, understood that a recession was coming and “wanted to position the company so we no longer relied on originating loans” for individuals and instead controlled the capital.
The group is now loaning to portfolios.“The timing just happened to coincide with Covid,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean Covid-19 has had no impact on the group’s lending practices.
Khorshidi said the company is more conservative when lending on purchases made before Covid-19 because the market has changed but less conservative in lending with purchases made after the market’s recent adjustments.
The company, he added, is particularly interested in industrial properties and value-add acquisitions.
Many lenders are still open for business — if the deal is right.
“Certain segments of the lending market are either shut down, on pause or limited,” said Shlomi Ronen, a managing principal and founder of Dekel Capital. “Others are still trying to be active. Real estate transactions have ground to a halt, which has reduced the demand side of the equation.”
Previously banks would finance 60% to 70% of acquisitions, he said, but now leverage is in the 50% to 60% range.
Ronen added that lenders do not want to finance hotel or retail properties, preferring industrial assets instead.
Jonathan David Hakakha of Beverly Hills-based capital advisory firm Quantum Capital Partners Inc. said that despite the challenges in the market, the company has had a busy year.
In fact, Quantum Capital has closed more deals than ever at this point in the year.
“There’s been restructuring for the most part,” Hakakha said.
Lenders now, he added, want to see a “debt service reserve” — money set aside for the next six months to a year.
Hakakha said that because lenders are being more conservative and increasing their pricing, borrowers are better off waiting on loans if they can.
Many developers are trying to wait things out and “see if they can get better leverage in a month or two,” Ronen said.
But some changes could stick around.
“Once lending opens up again, lenders are going to be more conservative and maintain higher rates than what they were pre-corona,” Hakakha said.
Calabasas-based MREC Management, better known as Mosaic Real Estate Investors, is being more conservative with its money while still making loans.
Vicky Schiff, co-founder and managing partner at the firm, said “the strong will survive” Covid-19.
In deciding what loans to make, Schiff said the company, which has provided $2.4 billion in loans, looks at the potential downside.
Industrial and multifamily, she said, are in the best shape.
More than 50% of Mosaic’s loans are for construction. Schiff said new construction loans are being given “very, very selectively,” with a focus on multifamily and markets with high occupancies.
Terms of the loans are much different than what they were pre-Covid, she said.
“We were selective before but really slowing down the pace and focusing mainly on multifamily,” Schiff said.
She added that Mosaic has been getting requests from new and returning customers.
“We’re interested in providing capital to strong operators, and that might be perhaps capital they couldn’t get from traditional lenders maybe because their traditional lenders have taken a step back,” she said.
Schiff also said there has been an increase in deal flow since the arrival of Covid-19.
For banks, the approach to CRE financing now varies widely. Some banks that focus on loan portfolios in more stable areas, such as residential, can afford to continue lending.
“We have tightened our underwriting criteria but are accepting new applications,” said Simone Lagomarsino, president and chief executive of Luther Burbank Corp.
Luther Burbank, which opened an El Segundo location in February, has tightened underwriting criteria but is accepting new loan applications.
Luther Burbank’s banking headquarters are located in Gardena although the bank’s corporate headquarters are in Santa Rosa. Roughly 96% of the company’s loans are in residential real estate, including multifamily, which Lagomarsino said gives her confidence in the portfolio’s stability.
“We went into this with a shortage of housing in general,” she said. “We’re going to come out of it in a shortage of housing.”
Lagomarsino said Luther Burbank is dealing with an issue common to any commercial real estate lender in the current environment — forbearances.
Without money to pay their rents, many newly jobless tenants have had to ask for payment deferrals. In multifamily, this trickles up to lenders in the form of delayed mortgage payments.
Under normal circumstances, banks would generally be obligated to report such deferred loans as delinquent. This reporting becomes problematic for borrowers, whose credit is then typically damaged, as well as for banks, which can become targets for regulators after accumulating too much problem debt.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, suspended this reporting requirement.
“That’s been beneficial for banks,” said Lagomarsino, who added that her bank has been active in issuing deferrals to borrowers who can demonstrate Covid-related economic hardship.
The deferred payments are added to a borrower’s principal, with a new rate based on the result, according to the Luther Burbank CEO.
Cool on retail
Other banks with a wider range of CRE loan types face more complicated pictures.
Roughly 44% of Chinatown-based Cathay General Bancorp’s total loan portfolio is composed of CRE. Of this, nearly one-quarter is in retail properties while other problem areas like hotels and restaurants comprise about 6.5% of the bank’s total commercial real estate loans.
Cathay Chief Operating Officer Chang Liu
Cathay Chief Operating Officer Chang Liu said low loan-to-value ratios across the bank’s commercial real estate portfolio — which average around 50% — made his company relatively confident in its stability.
Despite this, Cathay is generally pulling back from new loans to first-time clients, according to Liu.
“We are focusing more on our current relationships,” he said. “For existing customers with that (established) track record, we are looking at new CRE transactions.”
The bank is also looking out for its existing clients by reaching out to borrowers and inquiring about their business situation.
“We’re wanting to know how they are doing,” Liu said, “and how we can help them if they are experiencing cash flow issues in the current environment.”
He said one area where Cathay is interested in bringing in new business is industrial property lending — especially related to ecommerce.
“It’s currently not a big area for us now,” he said, “but we’re looking to grow it.”
Banc of California, meanwhile, has generally adopted a more bullish stance on new loans, looking to use the current situation to bring in new customers.
Despite this, some areas will still largely be off limits for the Santa Ana-based bank in the months ahead.
“We’re not going to blatantly say no to retail and hotel,” Hussain said, “but it will be more difficult to do those types of deals due to the environment.”
About 14% of Banc of California’s roughly $2.3 billion CRE and multifamily portfolio is composed of retail properties.
Beyond problem categories, however, the bank is actively looking to issue new loans to first-time clients.
Hussain said the relative dearth of commercial real estate financing could make people or companies that had not previously worked with his institution more open to trying a new lending partner. His bank’s bet is that these borrowers will then form ongoing relationships long after the pandemic-driven downturn has ended.
“Real estate is a cyclical business,” Hussain added. “As a strong bank, these are the kind of times you pick up market share.”Read more
Latigo Group has locked in $59 million in construction financing for a 152,000-square-foot multifamily development in the northwestern part of Greater Los Angeles, according to Dekel Capital, which arranged and announced the funding.
Dekel said the financing was provided by a publicly traded real estate investment trust and a life insurance company.
Latigo has started work on the project at 299 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, which will be the first significant multifamily project in Thousand Oaks since 2007. When it’s complete in 2022, the 3.2-acre site will include 142 units, 9,820 square feet of ground-level retail for restaurant space and a coffee shop, and parking for 239 vehicles. Eleven of the units will be designated as affordable for low-income households.
The four-story property will include studio, one- and two-bedroom units, as well as a 3,000-square-foot fitness center, pool and garden courtyards, and open space.
“The lack of housing construction in Thousand Oaks over the last decade has led to a notable supply/demand imbalance,” said Dekel principal Shlomi Ronen, who arranged the financing, in a statement.
L.A.-based Latigo Group is a privately owned investment and development firm specializing in multifamily, mixed-use, and student housing properties throughout the country.Read more
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles-based Dekel Capital, on behalf of Los Angeles-based CGI Strategies, has secured $47.8 million in non-recourse construction financing for the development of a multifamily community located at 837 S. Fedora St. in Los Angeles.
Provided by a national lender, the loan will be used for the construction of a seven-story concrete and wood building over two levels of subterranean parking in the Koreatown neighborhood. The multifamily property will offer 200 apartments in a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom layouts, ranging in size from 622 square feet to 1,000 square feet, with 10 percent of the units earmarked for low-income residents. On-site community amenities will include a fully equipped fitness center, 6,500-square-foot community lounge, clubhouse, exterior courtyard and 5,400-square-foot rooftop lounge.
Completion is scheduled for summer 2022.Read more
The global spread of the coronavirus is the unexpected event the U.S. commercial real estate industry feared would halt the country’s longest period of economic expansion. But when rent or mortgages come due, lenders are expected to exercise some level of flexibility to soften the blow. Wikimedia/Sparkx 11
While these are still early days in what some economists are already calling a recession, banks are expected to take a different tone in this downturn compared to the last. And on Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said landlords with government-backed loans wouldn’t face foreclosure if they didn’t evict their tenants.
“Unlike the last recession, we’re not the cause of this. We’re just exposed to it,” Dekel Capital Managing Principal Shlomi Ronen said. “Rent relief and government intervention, in my mind, is the critical piece in all of this.”
Health officials and leaders around the world strongly recommend people socially distance to prevent further spread of the virus. Hotels, airports, retail centers and offices are all largely empty as people follow government orders to stay at home for an unknown period of time to take pressure off healthcare facilities and wait out the pandemic. The lack of foot traffic means significantly less money in the pockets of renters to pay landlords or property owners to pay back lenders.
Simon Property Group temporarily closed all its U.S. retail centers through March 29, the REIT announced Wednesday. Marriott’s U.S. and European occupancy levels have dropped to below 25% — a situation more dire than the quarter after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said Thursday. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh ordered construction crews to wind down work and secure sites no later than Monday to keep workers safe from the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Landlords say they are already fielding requests for April rent relief. But rent relief hinges on how flexible banks and regulators can be. For now, those institutions are signaling this downturn will be marked more by forbearance than foreclosure.
“We’ve taken the step of delegating some authority to market executives relative to making the decision of putting certain loans that may be amortizing to be interest-only,” EagleBank Senior Executive Vice President and President of Commercial Banking Tony Marquez said. “Then, they would have the ability to defer one payment as we try to assess what is a quickly moving process and stay nimble relative to the regulatory relief that should be clarified in the coming days and weeks.” Wikimedia/Martin Falbisoner
Relationship managers at the Bethesda, Maryland-based bank have spent the last several days reaching out to those in industries feeling an immediate business impact from coronavirus precautionary measures, EagleBank Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Jan Williams said. The bank has focused on clients in hospitality, retail and events.
The managers get a sense of clients’ immediate needs and “have a quick turnaround on what we’re calling ’emergency coronavirus modifications’ that need to be put in place quickly,” Williams added.
But the bankers said it is too early to know just how long any downturn would last, meaning they weren’t ready to provide specifics on how a lending relief package might look. They did say, as of Friday, they expect restrictions keeping many businesses closed to abate in the next 60 to 90 days.
Investors see that short-term abatement timeline as motivation to offer rent or mortgage relief.
“I can tell you hotel owners are right now having conversations with their lenders, and many owners are saying, ‘We’re going to default on interest. If you want to foreclose and kick us out and take the asset, it becomes your problem. Go for it,’” CenterSquare Investment Management Chief Investment Strategist Scott Crowe said.
“This is not a normal default. It’s a shock where there’s still hope this is just going to be a deferment of economic activity and not a permanent impairment of economic activity.” The call for flexibility needs buy-in from all stakeholders. Renters need relief from landlords, who need it from their lenders, who need clearance from federal regulators. That hinges on what kind of stimulus plan is passed in Washington. The FHFA’s actions on Monday go a long way toward easing the tension, but landlords have to agree to eviction restrictions before taking the loan forbearance, and the move only covers government-backed loans.
A broader stimulus package was still held up in Senate negotiations Monday night as Democrats and Republicans feuded over who would receive the most aid and how it would be distributed and overseen. Beyond that, lenders will still need to reckon with borrowers who can’t pay their debts for months. “It will still take time to put a longer-term solution in place because you’re not going to make up a quarter of business overnight,” Williams said. “It’s going to take a little time.”
Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/commercial-real-estate/forbearance-over-foreclosure-what-cre-wants-from-lenders-during-the-coronavirus-crisis-103528?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=BrowserRead more
In the last few days, the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the stock and financial markets, but the virus hasn’t knocked them out yet. For construction deals specifically, lenders remain “open for business,” according to Shlomi Ronen of Dekel Capital.
“Things are slower and people are figuring things out,” Ronen, a principal at Dekel Capital, tells GlobeSt.com. “Lenders remain open for business. Some debt funds have communicated that they are on the sidelines. The securitized product is challenged right now because of the volatility in the bond market, and warehouse lenders are in conversations to ensure the collateral on the warehouse lines is going to perform. There is still a good amount of liquidity in the market, and we are in process on a number of deals. Everyone seems to be blocking out some of the noise.”
Developers securing debt today will deliver into a market two to three years from now, well after the virus outbreak has recovered. “These are two-year construction projects, and the world is going to be okay in two years when these projects start to lease up. People are still going to be around and they will still need a place to live,” says Ronen.
While lenders haven’t released any official guidance for developers with who could face stalled projects as a result of the virus, Ronen expects lenders will be compassionate to the situation. “We are monitoring the situation. Just like there is going to be some leniency on the hard-hit industries, I anticipate that there will be some leniency for developers,” he says. “If you have a loan covenant that required completion in 18 months, but it is going to take 19 months as a result of the virus outbreak, I think people will rational.”
Of course, the situation is moving too quickly to see or predict the impact. “Everyone is concerned, but we are taking this with a longer view,” says Ronen. “The impact isn’t going to be immediate. Last week, we were focused on materials and the disruption in the supply chain, this week we are concerned about building a project without 50 people in the building at a single time.”
In addition to creating disruption, this could also create opportunity—but even that is also wait-and-see. “We haven’t seen cheaper cost of capital because spreads have widened. If we come out of this and inducies remain low, which I expect that they will, and the bottom market starts functioning again at a normal level, then I expect that we will see spreads come in as well and we will see new lows,” says Ronen.Read more
A 74,000-square-foot mixed-use creative office building near Culver City has received $59.3 million in construction financing.
The developers of the project, located at 5950 Jefferson Blvd., are Sawtelle-based Urban Offerings Inc. and Meridian Group Ltd.
Dekel Capital Inc. arranged the financing.
The loan, which was provided by an unnamed institutional fund manager, will be used to demolish an existing building and replace it with a four-story creative office building with ground-level retail.
Urban Offerings was founded in 2005. It is the company’s eighth joint venture with Meridian Group.
“Urban Offerings is an experienced sponsor with a strong track record of developing well-designed urban infill properties, including three properties immediately adjacent to the site,” Dekel Capital Principal Shlomi Ronen said in a statement. “We saw tremendous interest from the capital markets given the strength of the Culver City office market, and, equally important, the experience and successful performance history of Urban Offerings.”
The project is expected to be completed by June 2021. The property is located near the Hayden Tract, a former warehouse district in Culver City.
Much of the area has been converted to creative office space and is home to a number of tech companies and startups including Awesome Office Inc., known as SnackNation, Jam City Inc. and SteelHouse Inc.
Office space in West L.A. is in high demand. In the fourth quarter, asking rent for Class A office space in the area was $5.42 a square foot, up $1.28 over the previous year, according to data from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Vacancy rates in the area were a mere 7.5%, down from 15.1% the previous year. It was one of the lowest vacancy rates in Los Angeles County, behind only West Hollywood and Century City.
The area had roughly 430,000 square feet of office space under construction during the quarter.Read more
As fear and panic rises daily due to more cases reported of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) have jointly encouraged financial institutions to meet the needs of customers and members affected by the illness.
“The agencies understand that many financial institutions may face current staffing and other challenges,” said the federal agencies in their joint statement. “In cases in which operational challenges persist, regulators will expedite, as appropriate, any request to provide more convenient availability of services in affected communities. The regulators also will work with affected financial institutions in scheduling examinations or inspections to minimize disruption and burden.”
Late last week, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued updated guidance to remind financial institutions that business continuity plans should address the threat of a pandemic outbreak and its potential impact on the delivery of critical financial services.
Photo credit: Getty Images/lakshmiprasad SAccording to Dekel Capital Principal Shlomi Ronen, while there is only speculation about the Coronavirus’ long-term impact on the U.S. real estate and the real estate capital markets, construction projects may be the first areas impacted. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, with the U.S. dependent on China for raw materials to finished goods needed for both residential and commercial development, it is estimated that approximately 30 percent of building products imported to the U.S. come from China, making it the largest single supplier of such material to this country.
But with Chinese factories forced to close due to the virus, imports from China have been constrained, as recent port numbers indicate shipments from China are down 25 percent—the same level that occurred at the onset of the U.S. economic recession in 2008. As a result, materials needed by builders to complete projects are dwindling.
“Just-in-time delivery and the optimization of the supply chain over the last decade, has significantly reduced inventories, and is compounding the current situation since there is virtually no slack in the system,” Ronen said. “There are no longer warehouses stocked with inventory in the United States awaiting customers. We have become so dependent on China for production, it’s unclear if the U.S. manufacturing industry can produce the materials needed in lieu of Chinese imports. The result could be significant project delays, and cost escalations for ventures that have not broken ground.”
The Fed last week attempted to quell economic fears by lowering the Fed Funds Rate to the one to 1.25 percentage point range, marking the Fed’s first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis and mortgage meltdown of December 2008.
And school districts continue to close down nationwide as reports trickle in of coronavirus-infected students and staffers emerge, major economic ripples are being felt in other areas like Austin, Texas, where Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the cancellation of the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, originally set for March 13-21. The cancellation of the annual music festival, will put a major dent in the local economy, as last year’s event brought in an estimated $356 million to the area. This marks the first time in 34 years that SXSW will not be held.
Several major trade shows around the industry have been cancelled or postponed as well, as the Mortgage Bankers Association has cancelled its Technology Solutions Conference & Expo planned in Los Angeles from March 29-April 1, as Originator Connect, the parent company of NMP, has moved next week’s 2020 Carolinas Connect Mortgage Expo to June 3-5.
On Monday, the Connecticut Department of Banking issued a memo advising the mortgage industry and other financial services sectors that it will take a no action position with regard to employees working from home who otherwise would be required to work from a licensed branch location in order to avoid potential exposure to the Coronavirus.
E. Robert Levy, executive director and counsel for the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey, has requested that the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) provide relief for mortgage loan originators who wish to work from home to avoid exposure.
“New Jersey’s definition of ‘branch office’ in N.J.A.C. 3:15-1.2 would require a branch license for a mortgage loan originator’s home if he/she were to take applications for mortgage loans ‘in the regular course of business’ there,” wrote Levy in his letter to DOBI. “The regulation also requires a branch license at any location where ‘…loan records are maintained, underwriting decisions are made, commitments or lock-in agreements are issued, or any fees or charges relating to the loan are received from consumers.’ We respectfully request that DOBI issue a formal waiver or no action memorandum regarding the applicability or effectiveness of this regulation until the health concerns about COVID-19 are resolved in New Jersey.”
Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cited a number of factors that the epidemic has played in the homebuying process.
“The Coronavirus is leading to fewer homebuyers searching in the marketplace, as well as some listings being delayed,” said Dr. Yun. “In the latest flash survey, 11 percent of Realtors indicated a reduction in buyer traffic and seven percent are reporting lower seller traffic when asked directly about the coronavirus impact on the market. Given that a home transaction is a major commitment, the uncertainties on how the economy will play out and the spread of the virus itself are barriers to homebuying and selling. The stock market crash is no doubt raising economic anxieties, while the coronavirus brings fear of contact with strangers. At the same time, the dramatic fall in interest rates may induce some potential buyers to take advantage of the better affordability conditions. It is too early to assess the likely impact as to whether lower interest rates can overcome the economic and health anxieties. But the survey is implying in the short-term at least that home sales will be chopped by around 10 percent, compared to what would have been the case, due to the spread of coronavirus.”Read more
The rapid spread and growing fear of the novel coronavirus is disrupting financial markets and devastating the industries that commercial real estate depend on.
SEE ALSO: Dealmakers Rush to Sign Deals, While They Still Can
The fallout is starkly displayed at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the two largest in the Western Hemisphere — as fewer and fewer shipments arrive. The United States depends on China for about 30 percent of all the materials and goods that are needed for both residential and commercial development, making the country the largest supplier of such material, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, which tracks the construction industry.
With factories in China operating at about 40 percent capacity, the Port of L.A. announced today that all shipments dropped 23 percent in February compared to last year, with declines expected to continue through March. There is also a massive backup of empty containers left behind, and filled export containers that were delayed because of decreasing demand in Asia.
“As factory production in China remains at low levels, we expect soft volumes in March,” said executive director Gene Seroka, in a statement. “We will need to return empty containers to Asia and push lingering U.S. export boxes out swiftly. We’re actively working with our supply chain partners to be prepared for a cargo surge once production levels ramp up.”
Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of L.A., told Commercial Observer there have been about 40 shipment cancellations so far this quarter. The port averages about 15 cancellations for the full first quarter. Peterson
“More than half of the cargo received at the Port of L.A. comes from China alone, so you can see how significant this is for us,” he said.
The Port of Long Beach, which also does most of its trade with China, is expected to release its February figures soon. For now, the overall activity is pegged to have declined about 10 percent, said Lee Peterson, the port’s media relations manager.
Shlomi Ronen, principal at Dekel Capital, said low shipments will soon mean consequences for construction projects as building materials dwindle, increasing the likelihood of “significant project delays, and cost escalations for ventures that have not broken ground.”
“There are no longer warehouses stocked with inventory in the United States awaiting customers,” Ronen said. “We have become so dependent on China for production, it’s unclear if the U.S. manufacturing industry can produce the materials needed in lieu of Chinese imports.”
Cost overruns due to the coronavirus crisis could possibly qualify as a force majeure event caused by an unavoidable disaster, which means that contractors may no longer be liable, and any schedule delays or cost increases attributed to the virus may fall on developers, as CO reported.
Marcus & Millichap reported Monday that a new recession is not imminent, but the virus will slow economic growth in the first quarter due to weaker exports, lower tourism, and supply-chain shortfalls. The current low unemployment and strong consumption will offset headwinds unless the outbreak amplifies significantly, the report explained.
Barring a major economic disruption, commercial real estate yields and investment activity should remain stable, Marcus & Millichap reported. Real estate activity has sustained so far since the outbreak began, and low interest rates support refinancing and acquisitions. Treasury rates dropped to a record low, which gives real estate players a low cost of capital and some of the highest levered returns in three decades.
As more cases are confirmed around the world, the hotel sector will likely experience the largest impact, with businesses and tourists canceling or postponing travel plans and major events and conferences.
By the time of a fourth-quarter earnings call in February, Braemar Hotel & Resorts Inc. reported $80,000 in lost revenue tied directly to fallout from the outbreak around the world. However, CEO Richard Stockton told CO there could be a financial opportunity in the wake of potential overreaction. Stockton worked for Morgan Stanley from 1997 to 2012, including three years in Asia. He said in the wake of SARS, there were some very attractive investment opportunities that they monetized years later “for some of the greatest profits of anywhere in the global portfolio.”
“There will inevitably be some sort of overreaction in terms of pricing opportunity, whether it’s for the stock market or for hard assets,” he said.
In the industrial sector, distribution hubs like the Inland Empire may face some softening in the wake of coronavirus as a wave of big-box warehouse development enters the market, according to Marcus & Millichap. Some companies may postpone commitments for large space blocks at major facilities as they cautiously monitor the economic outlook for the supply chain.
Product shortages could weigh on retail performance, while canceled trips and events, as well as more direction to avoid contact with others, could hamper performance for restaurant space, entertainment venues and fitness facilities, as well as retail locations in tourist destinations, as CO reported. Some companies may hold off on expansion plans, which will weigh on short-term absorption, according to the Marcus & Millichap report.Read more
Coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, a port city in the central Hubei province in China in late December, has since emerged on every continent except Antarctica. As health officials work to stem the spread and impact of the health epidemic, which has infected close to 90,000 people and killed more than 3,000 to date, the global business community is grabbling with a potential crisis of its own.
Over the last decade, the world’s economies have become intertwined. This is especially the case with the United States and China, despite recent trade tensions between the two superpowers. A slowdown caused by the devastating virus in China—which leads the world in manufacturing output—will certainly cause repercussions here.
While we can only speculate about the virus’ long-term impact on the U.S. real estate and real estate finance markets, we can anticipate the short-term consequences the epidemic will have on real estate, starting with construction projects.
Our country is extremely dependent on China for everything from raw materials to finished goods needed for both residential and commercial development. Around 30 percent of building products imported to the U.S. come from China, making it the largest single supplier of such material to this country, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, which tracks the construction industry.
But with Chinese factories forced to close due to the virus, imports from China have been constrained. Recent port numbers indicate shipments from China are down 25 percent — the same level that occurred at the onset of the recession in 2008. As a result, materials needed by builders to complete projects are dwindling.
Just-in-time delivery and the optimization of the supply chain over the last decade, which has significantly reduced inventories, is compounding the current situation as there is virtually no slack in the system. There are no longer warehouses stocked with inventory in the United States awaiting customers. We have become so dependent on China for production, it’s unclear if the U.S. manufacturing industry can produce the materials needed in lieu of Chinese imports. The result could be significant project delays, and cost escalations for ventures that have not broken ground.
Even for projects that have a GMP (guaranteed maximum price) construction contracts, the crisis caused by the virus would like fall under force majeure event excluded by the guarantee. Thus, any schedule delays or cost increases attributed to the Virus will fall on the shoulders of project developers.
In an attempt to mitigate an economic slowdown here in the US, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by half a percentage point on March 3 to stem fallout from the epidemic, The New York Times reported, with bank officials voting unanimously for their biggest single cut—and first emergency rate move— since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chairman, also indicated during a news conference in Washington, D.C., a willingness to continue to “use our tools and act appropriately, depending on the flow of events.”
With Fed Funds Rate currently set at the 1 to 1.25 range following the announcement, the Fed has limited capacity remaining to stimulate the economy through continued reductions in short term rates.
Looking at the treasury yields, we have seen them drop about 30 basis points in the last week and a half and yet our long-term rates are still higher than many other developed nations. The upside for real estate investors is that you can currently obtain long term fixed rate financing on most commercial buildings in the 3 percent range. The cost of long-term fixed-rate capital has come down and will likely remain low for the foreseeable future, until the U.S. economy is back on solid footing and growing again.
Despite all the uncertainties, there is some good news when it comes to overall capital market trends. Capital market participants we spoke with over the last several weeks are still open for business and lending capital is still available for the most part.
In addition, two trends we’ve noted this year, unrelated to the coronavirus, still point to select opportunities for real estate investors.
1) Many debt funds have raised capital that is focused on lower risk types of value-add execution. For deals with minor lease up risk—nothing involving heavy renovations—there is a lot more capital. Financing for those deals is being priced in the 100s to 200s over Libor.
2) Meanwhile, the debut funds that have focused on heavier renovation bridge financing have amassed allocations for construction financing. Given that, there should be additional capital beyond just what the banks can provide for construction financing this year. Initially, of course, funding will focus on the primary product types for real estate investment—apartments, industrial and office projects in major metropolitan areas.
While not a complete salve for the current situation, these capital market trends and the proactive work Federal Reserve are engaging in should stem some of the economic fallout from the coronavirus.Read more
Once considered an unlimited bucket of capital for borrowers, CMBS provided a relatively quick and easy financing alternative for capital requirements that weren’t being addressed by the other capital market systems.
Today, CMBS remains the most aggressive and cheapest capital in town, offering interest rates at historic lows. With the treasuries falling into the mid ones and with spreads in the mid to high 100’s, rates on CMBS loans are hovering in the high 2% to low 3% range.
Life companies, were generally the clear favorite, when it came to price, especially on low leveraged loan requests. However, with rates falling below 4 percent, life companies have put artificial floors on their rates due to concerns about achieving the yield requirements on their general account money as well as their investor managed accounts.
Conduit lenders are also beating out agencies on pricing, but for a different reason. Agency pricing has widened as both Freddie and Fannie are capped out from the volume originated earlier in the year.
Although conduits are now winning out on pricing, the CMBS machine is running at roughly 50 percent capacity when compared to the volumes achieved in the early 2000’s and there is simply not enough bandwidth to meet the demand.
Two years since the federal risk retention requirements went into effect, which mandates that lenders keep five percent of their loans on balance sheets for at least five years, the pool of conduit lenders executing CMBS loans has decreased by more than 50 percent–from 38 in 2015 to 16 currently. As a result, the pace and amount of securitized loans have dramatically changed with loan pools now ranging in size from $500 million to $1 billion.
Until we see an increase in capacity, it is important for borrowers to develop a relationship with these conduit lenders.
Understanding the likes and dislikes and the leverage tolerances of the various CMBS groups is vital to improving a borrower’s chances for success of getting a loan approved, and more importantly moved through the system. Providing your CMBS lender with a level of certainty they will be getting the business, can greatly enhance the chance for success.
Having a strong relationship with a CMBS lender does not guarantee quick execution of a loan request, but it can provide a leg up in the process.Read more
In August we witnessed a classic recessionary signal when yields on long-term bonds fell below that of their short-term counterparts, a phenomenon known as an inverted yield curve. So when the spread between the 10-year and two-year Treasuries turned negative (actually three times in less than two weeks), concerns about the economy’s health began to escalate. Afterall, over the past 50 years the inverted yield curve has been a pretty accurate warning sign of a pending recession.
However, while it would be irresponsible to completely ignore the yield inversion/recession metric, it is worth noting that there are several mitigating factors in play that suggests the current bond market environment could be a false indicator of a pending recession. We are seeing negative bond yields in both Germany and Japan which has made U.S. debt more attractive (even at yields in the mid-one percent range). In addition the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented bond buying program post-recession artificially kept the 10-year yield low.
From an interest rate standpoint, we have not seen an equal tightening of long term interest rates comparable to the drop in treasury yields. This, however, will likely be short lived as we enter into the fall and winter months and Wall Street returns from their August vacations.
Historically very little securitization activity takes place during the late summer months lack of activity gives lenders very little to benchmark against and makes it more challenging to get an accurate reading market spreads as they are building their fall/winter securitization pools.
In the coming weeks, with $25B of non-Agency CMBS securitization set to hit the market, we expect to see spreads tighten as Lender’s trading desks are able to use current market data to price their new loans.
The current state of the bond market can be largely attributed to the growing economic uncertainty created by the U.S./China trade tensions. In the commercial real estate sector, we’ve already seen the direct impact of those tensions with the increased cost of both raw and finished building materials. However, continued strength in employment has helped sustain rents on most property types and keep tenant demand strong.
The combination of sustained economic strength and borrowing costs compressing is creating a perfect storm for commercial real estate borrowers/investors.Read more
Developer JPI has received $80 million for the construction of Jefferson on Imperial, a 244-unit luxury multifamily community in South Gate.
The preferred equity and construction financing was arranged by Century City-based Dekel Capital for the project at 10920 Garfield Ave.
Shlomi Ronen, a managing principal at Dekel Capital, said the development is the first new multifamily project in the area in 30 years.
“South LA has long been overlooked by multifamily developers in this current cycle which presents a great opportunity for JPI,” Ronen said in a statement. “This property will offer above-average amenities and finishes at an affordable price point for the average two-income working household, something this market is severely lacking. Housing demand and job creation remains high and the lack of new housing options should enable this to be a very successful project for JPI.”
The project is at the site of a former retail center. Some units are expected to open by October 2020.
WHA designed the project, which will be managed by Alliance Residential Co.Read more
As we reach the mid-point of 2019 and as the Commercial Real Estate Industry continues to debate where we are in the current market cycle, an abundance of available capital has created a market in which seemingly everything is financeable.
Continued capital growth in the debt fund space, in both the amount of capital raised and the number of participants, has broadened lending criteria and increased competition, translating into more aggressive terms for a wider range of business plans. The amount of capital that debt funds are able to raise with seemingly relative ease is continuing to put pressure on origination teams to deploy the capital.
From a leverage perspective, we are seeing senior loans topping out in the 65 to 75 percent range loan-to-cost depending on the product type and execution risk. Subordinate capital, preferred equity and mezzanine debt, has become plentiful with target yields in the high single digits to low double digits and generally going up to 80-85 percent loanto-cost. We are seeing some investors push beyond the 80-85% loan-to-cost range but are doing so with back-end profit participation. In order to gain an edge on the competition, some lenders are offering higher loan-to-cost loans and selling off either a senior piece or a subordinate piece after the fact. While we’ve found that these “stretch senior” loans tend to have an all in cost that is higher than combining a senior lender with a mezzanine/preferred subordinate tranche, they offer a significantly simpler closing process.
On the CMBS side, there seems to be better pricing and more aggressive underwriting for loans offering 10 years of interest only. This is being driven by the way the credit rating agencies are underwriting cash flow and sizing at debt coverage ratios. For example, today a 10 year IO CMBS loan quote on an office building will be higher on loan proceeds and lower on spread than on a 10 year, 30 year amortizing quote.
Fannie and Freddie continue to be moderately aggressive depending on how much business they are able to capture throughout the year relative to their Government mandated lending volume caps.
Both have been very active of late with their forward lease up lending programs as developers/borrowers are finding that investors are not paying stabilized prices for properties in lease up and are therefore looking for a way to lock in low-interest rates that are prevalent in the market today. The forward lease up programs allow a borrower to fully fund a long term fixed rate loan at 75 percent occupancy with loan proceeds sized in anticipation of the property stabilizing at a 130 DSCR over the following 12 months.
In some cases, the assets have performed well, but lately in light of increased new multifamily supply in every major market throughout the US, lease-up concessions that were anticipated to burn off are being kept in and therefore the properties are not hitting stabilized NOI’s. In the current market, it doesn’t appear that the Agencies are getting compensated for the risk they are taking by lending out money at sub 4 percent rates and taking on lease-up risk associated with these loans.
The Fed’s recent shift in rate policy has generated a renewed confidence in the continuing growth of the economy. However, the possibility of interest rate cuts and cheaper capital will create the potential of even more aggressive underwriting as lenders compete to win deals. Stay tuned….the second half of 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting time.Read more
Baby boomers are reaching retirement age, and that’s driving up demand for senior housing — and interest from investors.
In a recent survey, CBRE Group Inc. found that 62% of investors were planning to add more senior housing to their portfolios. In part, that’s because the returns are strong. Over the last five years, senior housing gave investors a 14% return on investment, compared with a 9.2% return on multifamily investments over the same period.
“We felt like we could get some higher returns than were available in multifamily without taking additional risk,” said Shlomi Ronen, principal at Century City-based Dekel Capital.
In Los Angeles, demand for senior housing is especially strong due to the large aging population, a relative lack of existing stock and a particularly lengthy process for zoning the projects.
“The demand is unbridled,” said Patricia Will, chief executive of Belmont Village, which owns seven senior living facilities in L.A.
“Unfortunately, we aren’t able to satisfy the immediate demand. While that may be a good problem as a businessperson, it’s indicative of the demand we as an industry and a city just can’t keep up with.”
Investors grow into senior living
Bennett Johnson, a vice president at CBRE, said the senior housing segment is heating up. “In the last five years, I’ve seen a shift in terms of not only the amount of money but the type of investors coming into the space who historically viewed it as a niche market and are now seeing it as a major food group,” he said.
Johnson added that there has been more interest from real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and private equity the last few years.
Downtown-based Colony Capital Inc. in June refinanced $1.73 billion of consolidated debt in its health care segment, which included senior housing properties. As of March 31, the group’s health care portfolio had 192 senior housing properties.
In March, White Oak Healthcare Finance announced a new REIT that’s looking to invest $500 million in senior living and skilled nursing assets.
Century City-based Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors is also betting on senior housing. Since 2013, the group has invested in 74 private-pay senior housing communities. The group touts itself as the 20th largest owner of senior housing in the United States.
CBRE reports there are currently 23,500 professionally managed senior housing and nursing care communities in the United States.
L.A.’s tight market
Senior living is also becoming increasingly urban — a trend developers attribute to Baby Boomers being interested in things like access to transit, museums, concerts and volunteer opportunities.Read more
With a bevy of new entrants into the senior housing market, capital providers are looking for experience.
The senior housing market is seeing a boom. With the 65-plus demographic growing daily, many investors and developers are entering the senior housing space. While capital appetite for senior housing deals is healthy, senior housing is still considered a specialty market, and new entrants will have trouble landing capital sources.
“Capital availability is good. The caveat is that new entrants are going to have a relatively difficult time getting capitalized because of the nature of senior housing, especially when you get into the assisted living and memory care space, which is as much an operating business as it is a real estate business,” Shlomi Ronen managing principal at Dekel Capital, tells GlobeSt.com. “For those doing their first project, they are going to need to bring an existing equity relationship into the space or partner with someone that has experience on the operations side in senior housing.”
This is a dichotomy in the market, where there is both a plentiful capital supply and a high level of scrutiny on each deal. In addition, not all capital providers will consider senior housing opportunities. “From both a debt and equity perspective, this is a specialty item,” says Ronen. “There are people out there doing it, but it isn’t as large of a group as the main asset classes, like apartments. The pool of capital for seniors housing is much narrower. Capital sources understand the challenges of operations and they want to make sure that they have an experience developer and operating team on board.”
However, the scrutiny comes with more medical- and operational-intensive management properties, like assisted living and skilled nursing. Active seniors housing and independent living have a larger pool of capital. “Active seniors housing is essentially multifamily with more activities,” says Ronen. “The same goes for independent living.”
Despite the challenges, Ronen says that he has seen significant new entry into the market. “We are seeing people that have never done senior housing partnering with operators and building divisions around senior housing,” he says. “There is a lot of activity and new entrants into the market. That has resulted in some markets being oversupplied.”
The activity has actually led to an oversupply issue in certain markets. Ronen points out Salt Lake City and Dallas as cities with an oversupply of senior housing. In those markets, capital providers are also showing restraint. “If you have an oversupply issue, it is going to be very difficult for you to get financing,” he adds.Read more
A debt fund managed by Ares Real Estate Group has provided $41 million to Mountain Capital Partners to refinance a recently completed multifamily property in a western suburb of Minneapolis, sources told Commercial Observer.
The bridge loan took out previous construction financing on the development and will help facilitate the lease up and stabilization of the asset, which is called Central Park West, located at 1511 Utica Avenue South in the neighborhood of St. Louis Park, just minutes away from downtown Minneapolis.
Los Angeles-based Dekel Capital arranged the debt. Its investment arm, Dekel Strategic Investors (DSI), pumped roughly $15.4 million in equity into the asset in May 2015, according to Dekel’s website. That included a $7.7 million investment and $7.8 million in preferred equity, marking the second multifamily joint venture between DSI and the sponsor of this new loan.
The asset is a 199-unit apartment community designed by Minneapolis-based ESG Architecture & Design. It opened in December 2017 and is 81 percent leased.
The property sits adjacent to The Shops at West End, which is a 400,000-square-foot shopping center that includes a bevy of restaurants, retail shops and also a movie theater. Office Depot, Home Depot and Costco each have outposts nearby the asset.
“Minneapolis continues to experience strong population and job growth, excellent demand drivers for multifamily development,” Dekel Principal and Founder Shlomi Ronen said in a prepared statement. “The employment rate has increased by 1.6 percent over the last year. In addition, this is a highly amenitized community located within 15 minutes of downtown Minneapolis.”
Central Park West includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units and features a clubhouse, a business center, a 24-hour fitness center, garage parking, a golf simulator, a yoga studio, a resort style pool and spa and a rooftop deck, among other offerings. Pinnacle Communities manages the property.
Mountain Capital could not immediately be reached.Read more
Looking back to examine some of the issues that helped shape the real estate landscape last year, provides us the opportunity to look ahead at how those trends might affect the industry in 2019.
Most evident in 2018 was the added liquidity brought about by the phenomenal growth of debt funds.
The record amount of capital raised by these funds continues to increase at a seemingly historic pace as institutional investors see debt as an opportunity to achieve attractive net returns with far less risk than equity investment, especially as we get into the late innings of the recovery. In addition, the re-emergence of CLO (collateralized loan obligation) allows managers to sell loans, typically kept on balance sheet, in the secondary market
This increased competition, not just among debt funds, but traditional lenders as well, has resulted in significant spread compression and higher leverage, as much as 85 percent LTV for well located projects with strong sponsorship. This phenomenon, where the gap between long- and short-term rates narrow and leverage creeps up, occurs toward cycle peaks and is a definite sign that we are in the very late innings of the recovery.
The other significant trend that has shaped the real estate markets this year is the climate of uncertainty that has impacted the industry both positively and negatively as a result of current administration’s policies.
For example, the trade war with China and the institution of tariffs have increased costs for developers, making investment in projects more difficult. This is especially true for developers of single and multifamily projects. Estimates from the National Association of Home Builders claim that homebuilders and those in the home remodeling industry almost exclusively used products from China, the primary target of the new tariff policy.
Rising costs on items like steel aluminum and granite slowed or even stalled development in markets around the country as developers had to rethink, in some cases redesign their projects as a result of uncontrollable increases in materials costs. Such volatility makes it very difficult to underwrite much needed housing, making it a point of focus of many lenders and investors today. The temporary truce between the United States and China suggests that hope springs eternal, but the recent volatility in the stock markets indicates that there is still much work to be done before a workable trade pact is finalized between the two countries.
While the new policy on tariffs impacted the industry somewhat negatively, the administration’s efforts to increase investment activity in economically distressed communities led to the development of Opportunity Zones, under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Opportunity Zones, which encourage investors to reinvest their capital gains in economically distressed communities in exchange for significant tax benefits is now attracting a lot of private capital — with estimates of as much as $100 billion being raised by newly formed Opportunity Zone Funds. According to research from Yardi, there are more than 8,700 areas in all 50 states of the U.S. that were designated Opportunity Zones by the Treasury Department. While offering tremendous opportunities for both residential and commercial development –– the deployment of that capital will take some time.
And on the regulatory side, the current administration has been a little steadier. Having chipped away at Dodd-Frank, life has become a bit easier for the small banks, although two months into the year, that has not yet happened in a wholesale way as of yet. It was also in 2018 that the White House and GOP members of Congress favored removing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from U.S. conservatorship, where it has been since 2008. While, it is unlikely that Congress will act in 2019 to privatize the GSE’s, the privatization of Freddie and Fannie signal that significant changes are on the horizon.
As we continue into 2019, the focus on debt funds and the geo-political roller coaster should continue. Lenders are still being diligent in their underwriting which should continue in a demonstrable way for some time, although we may see some further spread compression, as competition continues to increase with an abundance of capital seeking to finance a finite number of deals, to the benefit of borrowers.
It is worth noting that while retail continued to struggle in 2018, investors and lenders are getting to understand the asset class a lot better, giving cause for some optimism this year. We are beginning to see more categorization, a much more precise definition and stratification of both the retailers and the types of retail. That’s helping everyone, including investors, to start to understand what seems to work and what absolutely does not.
A 113-bed assisted living and memory care facility in Glendale has received $59.4 million in debt and equity financing, banking firm Dekel Capital announced Jan. 29.
The facility, Sage Glendale Senior Living, is being developed by Willis Development. When completed, it will have 81 assisted living units, 24 private memory care units and four semi-private memory care units.
East West Bank gave a $38.7 million construction loan. Dekel arranged the loan and provided $20.7 million in equity.
“The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that by 2030, more than one million seniors will require some assistance with self-care,” said Shlomi Ronen, principal at Dekel, in a statement. “In Glendale, where there are fewer than 20 facilities to serve a growing senior population of more than 200,000, this financing will help Willis Development meet the current and future demand for quality senior housing in what is the third largest city in Los Angeles County.”
Sage Glendale is at 509-525 W. Elk Ave.Read more
A Texas-based industrial real estate developer got a $34.3 million construction loan to finance a speculative logistics facility in Lakeland.
Xebec of Dallas plans to build a 537,000-square-foot logistics facility on a 60-acre site along Interstate 4.
Scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019, the logistics facility will have 36-foot clear height, 185-foot truck courts, 426 parking spaces for cars and 107 for containers.
Dekel Capital arranged the $34.3 million construction loan for Xebec’s speculative development in Lakeland.
A pension fund advisor originated the three-year loan with interest-only payments and a loan-to-value ratio of 85 percent.
“The availability of construction financing remains relatively constricted,” Shlomi Ronen, a principal of Dekel, said in prepared remarks. “However, the last-mile needs of e-commerce have reshaped the industrial real estate model and construction debt is available for new and urban infill development.” – Mike SeemuthRead more
The fourth quarter will be a borrowers market, thanks to a growing increase of new lending sources. This year, new lenders have routinely entered the market, particularly in the bridge lending space. As a result, lenders are loosening underwriting standards and reducing spreads in order to meet production goals, and this competition has allowed borrowers to dictate terms. This liquidity in the market will fuel activity in the fourth quarter as well as in through 2019.Read more
As we head into the 4th quarter of 2018 we are continuing to see the liquidity in the capital markets grow and reach a point of saturation where lenders are loosening their underwriting standards and reducing their spreads in order to remain competitive and meet production goals.
In the bridge lending space, the number of lenders continues to grow. In recent weeks we met with three new lenders that recently entered the debt fund space (we have lost track of the number of debt funds in the bridge lending space). All this growth in the bridge lending space is being fueled by a number of factors that have created a “perfect storm” for bridge lending; general institutional investor sentiment that we are late in the real estate cycle resulting in risk aversion and appetite for debt fund investments, financial regulation severely limiting the participation of finance companies in CMBS lending, and the resurgence of the CLO (“collateralized loan obligation”, a securitized warehouse lending facility), giving bridge lenders access to seemingly unlimited, cheap, capital to lend.
As competition for deals grows, we are seeing underwriting standards loosening. Today many lenders are willing to provide higher leverage at tighter spreads on senior loans than they had at the beginning of 2018. Although leverage is still nowhere close to 2006-2007 levels of leverage, it has definitely reached the highest levels we’ve seen in the last 10 years.
Here’s an example of a bridge lending program that was recently pitched to our team highlighting the aggressive nature of today’s bridge lending market: From a Bridge lender with a close affiliation with to a major life insurance company:
Lending Programs Expand
As the competition in the bridge lending space intensifies, a number of lenders are venturing into both construction financing and into mezzanine or preferred equity in order to remain active, maintain yields, and differentiate their product offerings. This is providing developers greater access to non-recourse construction debt at higher LTC ratios as well the ability to forgo utilizing 3rd party equity by layering in preferred equity or mezz.
Below an outline of terms for a recently launched construction lending program that provides higher leverage at lower pricing than had been available in the market until recently:
Non-Recourse Construction loan program:
In summary, 4Q 2018 will be a “borrowers’ market” with lots of liquidity to finance a wide range of investment opportunities at highly compressed spreads and higher leverage.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in getting your project over this hurdle and finding the best capital source for your needs.Read more
Prime Finance has written an $83 million floating-rate loan to finance the acquisition and stabilization of a Las Vegas office portfolio.
The loan, with a two-year term and three single-year exten- sion options, is backed by 444,000 square feet at seven proper- ties that Moonwater Capital bought from two separate sellers. Las Vegas-based Moonwater tapped Dekel Capital of Los Angeles to arrange the financing, which also included $21 million of preferred equity provided by Colony Capital of Los Angeles.
Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, today announced it recently arranged financing on behalf of Moonwater Capital, founded by Ofir Hagay, for the acquisition of 444,194 SF across seven different buildings in the West and South Las Vegas submarkets. The combined portfolio provides one of the last large blocks of significant value add Class A office space within Las Vegas and positions Moonwater Capital as the market leader in the office market in Las Vegas. (more…)Read more
Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, has successfully placed $14 million in bridge financing on behalf of Mountain Capital Partners and Willis Development to enable sponsors to retire existing construction financing and enable continued stabilization of Kingston Bay, an assisted living and memory care development located in Fresno, California, announced Dekel Managing Principal Shlomi Ronen.
Dekel Capital structured a $14.1 million, 24-month, interest only, bridge loan that will allow the sponsor to continue to stabilize the existing Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility. The facility provides an opportunity for the ownership group to create value through lease up of the remaining units. (more…)Read more
A joint venture between two California-based firms, Dekel Strategic Investors and Arrowroot Real Estate, has purchased Mueller Place, an 86-unit multifamily property in Austin. The new ownership will treat the investment as a value-add opportunity and renovate the unit interiors and property exteriors in an effort to bring rental rates in-line with the submarket.
Read more here.Read more
On April 3, with little fanfare, the Fed’s Alternative Reference Rate Committee (ARRC) started publishing the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) that is slated to replace LIBOR in the US. This is an important first step in the transition away from LIBOR that is scheduled to expire in 2021. It is estimated that the US financial markets have $200 trillion of debt with LIBOR exposure; of this, approximately $1.1 trillion is commercial real estate (CRE) debt and securitized CRE debt. This pervasiveness requires a complex multi-year transition, but there is uncertainty as to the extent of progress that can be made before 2021.
In Multifamily Finance, Fannie and Freddie Are Still the Elephant in the Room. Shlomi Ronen emphasized that Congress and the FHFA ought to implement reforms with deliberation, changes that aren’t well explained clearly in advance could startle the market.
Regardless of where the agencies go from here, a survey of multifamily lending players underscored how high the stakes would be for any major reorganization. Shlomi Ronen, the founder of a Los Angeles debt brokerage that often arranges agency financings, Dekel Capital, emphasized that Congress and the FHFA ought to implement any reforms with deliberation, forecasting that changes that aren’t well explained clearly in advance could startle the market.
“Anything that’s done ad hoc or very abruptly is going to create a lot of anxiety,” Ronen said. “That will impact pricing.”
Adverse reverberations, in turn, could be cataclysmic in Ronen’s home state, he explained. Sky-high land prices and zoning restraints already make it difficult enough to make the math work on affordable housing projects. Things could get immeasurably direr, he said, if the sector’s go-to financing source disappeared.
“In California, it’s very tough to find sites to build affordable housing,” Ronen said. “The availability of financing makes possible what would otherwise be totally impossible.”
This article originally appeared on Commercial Observer.Read more
Dekel Strategic Investors is trading ground-up multifamily deals, where there may be some softness in rental rate growth, for value-add and core-plus strategies.
Dekel Strategic Investors, a division of Dekel Capital, is shifting its multifamily equity capital strategy to focus on value-add and core-plus deals. The firm is moving away from ground-up development, which it says no longer offers an attractive risk-reward profile.
The new strategy will continue to make small balance equity investments ranging in size from $5 million to $15 million using 65% leverage. We sat down with Shlomi Ronen, managing principal at Dekel Capital to talk about the strategic shift and what he is looking for in a deal. Read the rest of the story on Globe St.Read more
We recently celebrated the grand opening of Sage Desert Assisted Living and Memory Care, a brand new senior living community that is gearing up to help Tucson seniors and their families.
From the Arizona Daily Star:
With its dry climate and cultural attractions, Tucson is proving a strong market for developers of senior living centers. The boom in assisted living facilities that began locally about two years ago continues to draw interest from investors.
Tucson is a strong market for such developments because of weather and cultural activities, industry leaders say. Read the full article here.Read more
Two short months into 2018 we have seen a significant uptick in treasury yields along with positive economic data supporting continued Fed rate hikes for the remainder of the year. In the CRE lending universe however, the focus has been on has been on increased competition and decreasing credit spreads.
Here we will briefly touch on a couple of catalysts for this credit spread compression, as well, highlight a few lending programs that are relevant for our developer and value-add investor clients.
The peer group of bridge lenders focused on transitional projects continues to expand – by our count there are over 90 well-funded capital providers. This is a trend that we identified last year.
This opportunity for bridge lenders has been fueled by banks shifting their focus and capital to financing facilities for these real estate debt funds, as well as buying A-Notes on loans originated by these bridge funds.
Additionally, the muted CMBS origination volume has incentivized traditional CMBS shops to raise and deploy bridge capital as a tool to lead-sourcing tool for fixed rate lending.
Downward Pressure on Pricing – It’s a Borrower’s Market
Bridge lenders across the board have trimmed their spreads as much as a 100 basis points since Q4 – a clear reflection of the increased competition, lender financing options, as well as capital available at all leverage attaching points.
Further tailwinds for this lending has come from the CLO market re-activating in 2017. $109 billion of CLOs were issued in 2017 compared to $76 billion in 2016.
DEFINITION: A collateralized loan obligation is an asset-backed security which is backed by the receivables due on loans. Lenders package and sell their receivables on loans to investors in order to reduce the risk coming from potential loan defaults. Returns on CLOs are paid in tranches; that is, the individual loans backing a CLO have different maturities, and investors are paid out as each matures. Lenders offer higher interest rates to investors willing to buy CLOs backed by higher-risk loans (Farlex Financial Dictionary).
As well, the private REIT market has further buoyed the space, with a number of lenders forming private REITS to source cheap capital.
Behind the Curtain
While Libor and Treasury rates have gone up, lenders have compressed their spreads – keeping investors and borrowers focused on the all-in coupon. Lender return expectations have not gone up in conjunction with the rise in the indices (which is typical in a rising interest rate environment). We would attribute this to overall stability in the economy and the lack of higher yielding savings and or investment opportunities.
Lender Program Highlights
Multifamily Bridge Program
A leading credit-focused alternative asset management firm is offering up to 80% LTC bridge- financing on multifamily value-add projects, pricing starting at L+325. They can layer on additional mezzanine financing up to 90% LTC, priced at 12% with some upside participation. Nationwide.
One established fund manager has received a new allocation to deploy low-priced floating rate debt priced at L + 2.75% and up, at 70% to LTV. Up to 7-years of term, with a focus on taking out construction loans on new multifamily developments, or lease roll plays on office properties. Loan sizing at $20M+.
Life Company Execution
Life Co will take on “hairier” deals. They are comfortable going to 65% LTV and can offer shorter term 5-year fixed bridge money, $10M minimum check size. Open to look at properties with less than break-even cash flows. Pricing is typically at applicable Treasury + spread of 160 to 180.Read more
Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, today announced it recently arranged financing on behalf of Moonwater Capital, founded by Ofir Hagay – for the acquisition of a 177,007 SF Class A office building located in the up and coming Northwest Las Vegas submarket. (more…)Read more
Dekel Capital co-brokers $122 million in JV-Equity and non-recourse Bridge Financing for sponsors Urban Offerings and ESI Ventures. Proceeds will be used to develop a 250,000 square foot Class-A Creative Office Campus in downtown Los Angeles’s Fashion District.
Dekel Capital Founder & Principal Shlomi Ronen contemplates the top trends that impacted the capital markets this year, and discusses how the major capital sources and real estate sectors performed.
2017 Capital Markets Year in Review
As the year comes to a close, we reflect on the major trends in the real estate capital markets and their impact on operating, investing and new development activity nationwide.
The capital markets continue to push forward with a full head of steam through year-end. Today there is ample liquidity and reliable competition among lenders at all levels of the capital stack. Geo-political concerns that dominated the first quarter of the year have abated, as the national economy continued to expand at a steady, manageable pace. As a result, this year we saw lenders enter new markets, expand their platforms to lend on niche product types, and take on more execution risk in order to maintain pricing and constrain LTV/LTC ratios.
On the institutional equity side, 2017 proved to be a challenging year to deploy capital, as liquidity compressed yields across the risk spectrum, new supply (especially in multifamily) tapered rent growth in most major markets, and concern over the longevity of the real estate cycle tapered equity investor appetite for investments that were exposed to significant market risks beyond two years from the initial investment date. On the international front, we saw the Chinese government curtail outflow of capital from China, which resulted in a palatable contraction of new Chinese equity capital in the market. On the other hand, we saw Japanese investors expanding their U.S. investment focus in a significant way.
Additionally, mobile home communities seem to be in favor with lenders nationally. The expectation is that the agencies will continue to provide strong tailwinds, with 2018 multifamily lending caps for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac projected to be at $35 billion for each enterprise, just slightly down from $36.5 billion in 2017.
Agencies (and some banks offering fixed-rate programs) are proposing increasingly attractive terms, in contrast to conduit lenders (further discussed below) who are restrained due to risk retention and consistent discipline from the CMBS B-piece buyers.
Institutional equity funds continue to express a strong appetite for both value-add and ground-up development opportunities in the industrial sector. Generally, industrial is wholly accepted and recognized as a critical component of a commercial real estate portfolio allocation. Equity investors and lenders understand the need to be involved on speculative, ground-up industrial deals in order to win business, as demand drivers show the strength of the containerized supply chain going forward.
The appetite for creative office remains strong, although with time horizon constraints due to the expectation of economic slowdown at some point in the next two to three years, investors in value-add projects are leaning heavily toward business plans that can be executed within 24 months. Longer business plans are being hyper-analyzed due to the expectation of a general slowdown in the economy thereafter.
Meanwhile, the commoditized grocery or big-box, anchored business plans based on population density and demographics are considered non-starters for most equity investors unless there is a compelling story (or basis).
A few new, non-securitized lenders have entered the fixed-rate space, looking to pick off the small dollar loan requests by offering fixed transaction costs and in-house servicing.
Overall, our recent conversations with players in the equity, debt and brokerage space have a familiar theme: everyone seems to have had a busy and productive year and is looking to take a few weeks off at year end to recharge for a competitive year ahead in 2018.
This article was originally published on Commercial Property Executive.Read more
The capital markets outlook for 2018 is positive, thanks to increased activity at the end of the year. Another good indicator: new private capital entering the market.
With banks constrained by regulations, more and more private lenders are stepping to up to fulfill investor needs. While these capital sources are unregulated, Shlomi Ronen, managing principal at Dekel Capital, says that underwriting standards are remaining conservative, and there is no cause for concern. We sat down with Ronen to ask him about him 2018 outlook, the activity from private lenders and what asset classes will be in the highest demand next year.Read more
SAN DIEGO/ LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2017. Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, recently placed core-plus JV equity on behalf of Montana Avenue Capital Partners, LLC.
Proceeds were used to acquire and reposition a premier Class A, industrial flex multi-tenant park, encompassing a sprawling 13.6 acres, the Property consists of eight industrial flex buildings and one office building, totaling a combined 204,143 square feet, located in the greater San Diego market.
The property represented a unique opportunity to acquire a substantially stabilized flex office campus with the opportunity for future conversion into creative office.
Creative office conversions have experienced a flurry of leasing activity. A significant number of San Diego tenants have relocated from Class A office buildings to be in a creative office environment, making this a solid investment for our client and capital provider. Said Shlomi Ronen.
The buildings are uniquely designed with concrete and reflective glass facades, flexible designs, as well as extensive window lines, efficient loading areas and abundant surface parking. Ideally located within a short distance of the I-5 and I-805 junction, the office park is also set within a vibrant environment near restaurants, retailers, hotels, residential communities and many of the nation’s most influential tech and biotech companies.
Dekel Capital has been engaged in a combined $2 billion of structured transactions for developers, operators and investors, over the past 15 years.Read more
As everyone is busy working on their year-end closings, we will keep this one shorter than usual.
The capital markets continue to push forward with a full head of steam through year-end. There is reliable competition among lenders throughout the capital stack as the national economic drivers appear to have shed any geo-political factors that could dampen general optimism. Lenders are entering new markets for the right story.
On the equity side, the early cycle deals in primary and gateway markets have generally been picked over. Investors are open to new markets or product types as they chase yields and downside protection related to timing – avoiding business plans that require more than 24 months to execute.
Lenders and investors are open to exploring ‘story deals’ or ‘story locations’ in order to capture yields that are wholly priced out in any coastal or primary market.
Multifamily loans continue to be sized and priced to perfection in coastal locations. Borrowers are enabled as underwriting standards reflect valuations in the foreseeable future, despite the sentiment toward interest rate direction. Additionally, mobile home communities seem to be in favor with lenders today.
Agencies and banks offer increasingly attractive terms whereas conduit lenders are still restrained due to risk retention and discipline in CMBS B-piece buyers.
Industrial properties and creative office continue to feed off tail winds of fundamental change in consumer habits and desire to attract millennial tenants.
For industrial properties, institutional equity funds continue to express that they are underweight, which translates into strong appetite for both value-add and ground-up development opportunities. In general, industrial is wholly accepted and recognized as a critical component of a commercial real estate portfolio allocation.
For creative office, we have seen that the equity appetite for value-add projects leans heavily toward business plans that can be executed in 24 months. Longer business plans are being hyper-analyzed due to equity groups’ projections of macroeconomic risk and general slowdown in the economy.
Today, retail is all about buzzwords – with “right sizing the retail experience,” “experiential,” and “omni-channel” concepts popping up in our conversations with sponsors. The retail space is evolving, sparking curiosity in equity investors and caution from lenders. We are seeing valuations shift to indicate that equity can mitigate the sector risk in retail with smaller bets in this space.
Meanwhile, the commoditized grocery or big box anchored business plans based on population density and demographics are considered non-starters for most equity investors unless there is a compelling story (or basis).
Generally, everyone seems to have a full plate going into year-end. We continue to be cautiously optimistic for 2018.Read more
The Dekel team will be attending the ULI Fall meeting in Los Angeles, California next week.
Dekel Capital is actively sourcing both equity and debt capital for experienced investors targeting opportunistic, value-add and core plus deals.
We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss your investment focus for 2017-2018.
Select equity assignments:
Select debt assignments:
To schedule a meeting, please contact Shlomi Ronen.
CHARLESTON/ LOS ANGELES, October 16, 2017. Dekel Capital recently closed a $17 million non recourse construction loan for Xebec Realty Partners.. Proceeds will be used to develop a 262,080 SF state of the art Class A multi-tenant light industrial facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Dekel Capital utilized its extensive network to identify a lender that was capable of understanding the property’s unique positioning and attractive location, and could provide competitive loan terms.
“The development will bring much-needed Class A supply to North Charleston’s booming economy where recent transactions indicate significant growth and gave Dekel Capital and the lender a high level of confidence that this was a good investment.” said Shlomi Ronen.
The site is strategically located as the last developable site in the Palmetto Commerce Park, which features a variety of tenants including Boeing and Mercedes Benz. The site has excellent access to U.S. Interstate 26, the primary route of transit inland from the Port of Charleston and Charleston International Airport.
This deal reflects Dekel Capital’s ability to source capital for its developer clients as they expand into new markets. This non-recourse construction financing was structured as a “stretch senior” loan, which allowed for increased loan proceeds at attractive pricing. The firm has been engaged in a combined $2 billion of structured transactions for developers, operators and investors, over the past 15 years.Read more
LOS ANGELES/LAS VEGAS, October 4, 2017. Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, today announced it recently arranged financing on behalf of Moonwater Capital, founded by Ofir Hagay – for the acquisition of two adjacent Class A, low-rise office buildings located in the burgeoning Southwest Las Vegas submarket. (more…)Read more
Dekel Capital was in attendance at the Western States CREF Conference a few weeks ago, where, over the span of two days, we met with over fifteen lenders and funds (and enjoyed a few nice meals, as well). The majority of the meetings were with institutional debt funds and banks active in the bridge lending space.
The phrase “it’s competitive out there” came up in most of our conversations. New lenders continue to enter the bridge lending market – filling the gap as banks continue to pump the brakes on lending (despite economic drivers and data continuing to show positive trending through the end of the year). Interestingly, the increase in competition is consistent across loan size profiles – with players entering in the sub-$10M loan size space, up through mid-market and larger loans.
One quick takeaway is that lenders are differentiating themselves via pricing and structure – as opposed to purely pushing leverage on senior loans, which was pervasive in the past.
We noticed a clear distinction between bridge lenders focused on lighter value-add deals with in-place cash flow versus lenders that were more comfortable with heavier construction execution and lease-up risk.
Ground-up construction is firmly within the sights of the larger debt funds, which are looking for $25M+ loan requests and offering a non-recourse option to developers.
The “stretch-senior” bridge and construction loan product is one place the lenders are working to differentiate themselves – moving from traditional leverage of 65% up to 85% – 90% of cost by layering in an internal mezzanine debt piece.
A couple of additional thoughts from the conference…
When borrowers are willing to take bank recourse loans, they are capturing around a 100-basis-point discount to debt fund pricing, as well as benefiting from lower transaction costs.
We believe the gap between fixed and floating rate loans will continue to compress as rate indexes such as LIBOR, Treasury and Swaps finally start to inch upward.
Lastly, as a whole, there was not the sense that everyone was avoiding discussion of potential elephants in the room – underwriting standards appear to be holding, and lenders are exhibiting a healthy level of caution for deals outside of primary or secondary markets.Read more
Dekel Capital Managing Director Shlomi Ronen discusses 2017 mid-year trends in real estate financing, including borrowers’ increased demand for alternative lenders keeping the balance between demand and new regulations.
As the first half of the year has come to a close, we look at trends in real estate financing, influencing commercial real estate investment and development.
As a result of the Dodd Frank risk retention rules that were implemented at the end of last year, the number of CMBS lenders has contracted significantly and the impact on the market has been muted due to lackluster borrower demand for CMBS loans.
According to Trepp, only 21 lenders have participated in securitizations this year and the five top lenders accounted for more than 61 percent of the volume. That is a significant drop from 2015, when 38 lenders contributed loans and the top five accounted for 43 percent of the volume. The large banks with balance sheet capacity have emerged as the beneficiaries of the new regulation as a result, because they can retain a risk piece.
Irrespective of this change, borrowers continue to demand CMBS alternative financing, as the CMBS loan origination process continues to be costly with loan terms subject to changes in the bond securitization market. In addition, loan servicers have been slow to document loan assumptions on asset sales, further frustrating borrowers. In the first half of this year we saw a few financing companies roll out fixed-rate loan programs designed to specifically target these issues. By either using their balance sheet or deferring securitization, these “CMBS alternative” lenders are offering a front spread lock on loans and will retain servicing for the life of the loan.
The agencies continue to be the go-to source for multifamily financing. With significant deliveries of Class A properties, we have seen the agencies become more selective and conservative in their underwriting on their “lease-up” programs. In some cases, they are pulling the lease-up program all together over supply concerns. Otherwise, they are aggressively providing both fixed rate and floating rate loans for stabilized properties.
Debt funds have been dominating the non-recourse bridge loan space this year. New capital raised last year has translated into increased competition that has both brought down the cost of bridge debt and loosened underwriting guidelines. In order to differentiate their capital and “win” new business, we are seeing a willingness by the debt funds to take on more construction risk, push leverage, and lend in secondary and tertiary markets; Oftentimes leverage is being increased through the use of internal mezzanine.
Additionally, we are seeing for the first time bridge lenders willing to commit to future funding without charging interest on the hold back amounts.
Construction lending capacity at the banks seems to be better managed this year as a result of tightened underwriting parameters, loan rationing and consequential filtering out of sponsors. We are seeing the upper limit on loan to cost at 70 percent, with most banks maxing out leverage at 65 percent.
The rule of thumb for sponsorship liquidity and net worth requirements used to be 10 percent of the loan amount, with the net worth being equal to the size of the loan. However, as developers take on more construction projects, banks are shifting toward 15 percent liquidity upwards of a 150 percent net worth. Credit spreads on construction loans, however, have flattened–we have not noticed any significant changes in spreads so far this year.
With respect to land financing, some banks are willing to provide pre-development or land development loans, but sponsors are being underwritten to take out construction financing, and only in cases where lenders are also actively trying to win the construction loan.
Product type comparisons show that street-level retail centers with legacy tenants, as well as mid-size and big box centers, are the lowest priority for bank lenders. Industrial properties are in high demand, especially in infill locations in major markets where last mile industrial properties are undersupplied.
Higher Leverage and Prefered Equity
Due to constraints on bank construction debt leverage, mezzanine and preferred equity funds have proliferated in the middle-market commercial real estate space, providing up to 85 percent financing on development and value-add deals.
Various funds are offering a stretch senior product in which they provide the full capitalization, with the senior loan component priced competitively with bank financing and removing one additional capital partner from the equation. These funds are typically non-recourse, which is more appealing to borrowers as they are focused on balance sheet management, given the banks increased focus on contingent liabilities.
This year we have seen JV equity funds shift their focus back to major markets as opposed to searching for higher-yielding investments in secondary or tertiary markets. Funds remain focused on partnering with experienced sponsors, especially as execution risk from a market cycle standpoint has become a greater point focus for them.
The capital markets continue to evolve with seemingly strong liquidity in all segments of the market. Recently proposed changes to banking regulation and pending rate hikes should not materially change the supply of capital in 2017.
Dekel Capital actively sources equity for developers in the industrial, creative office, multi-family space. We advise our clients to get out in front of their deals in terms of timing as the groups that are active are busy, which can affect closing timelines.
This article was originally published in the CPE newsletter 7-19-17.
The Dekel team will be attending PCBC at the San Diego Convention Center on Wednesday, June 28th. Dekel Capital is actively sourcing both equity and debt for experienced homebuilders and land developers targeting small lot, attached, and detached single family product.
We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss your capital requirements.
To schedule a meeting, please contact a member of the Dekel Capital team listed below.
As we reach the midpoint of 2017 with the 2016 presidential election now behind us, it seems like the “end of the current real estate cycle” has become a focus point for many of our investor/developer clients and capital providers. This industrywide focus on the “end” along with changing government mandates and market fundamentals may cause this cycle to extend beyond the “norm.”
Earlier this month we attended the ULI Spring Conference in Seattle, where the sentiment amongst conference attendees was heavily weighted towards the notion that we are in the later stages of the current real estate cycle. In light of this, the nature of the cycle discussion with investors, developers, and capital alike has been focused around risk exposure, protection of profits made so far in the cycle, and concern over new deals that might be exposed to the next downturn. For investors, this translates into acquiring assets with strong, predictable cash flow in more liquid primary and large secondary markets. For capital market participants, credit now rules the day, with more stringent underwriting parameters, as well as a focus on investing in or lending on projects that have less execution and market risk.
In addition to the cautious sentiment of market participants, we are seeing changes in government mandates and market fundamentals that are constraining new supply to the market. Recent changes to immigration and trade policies have helped drive up construction costs and prolong construction schedules by exacerbating labor shortages in the subcontractor trades and raising material costs.
In the multifamily sector, record deliveries of new supply have abated rent growth in major markets throughout the country. According to a recent report by Yardi Matrix, multifamily rents were up 2.0% nationwide in April, down 50 basis points from March and well below the 5.5% growth rate of a year ago. The combination of increased costs, longer construction schedules and abated rent growth are lowering return metrics thereby making the deals less appealing to developers and capital alike.
Contrary to the latter part of the last cycle, where many felt that market cycles were a thing of the past and excessive risk and leverage were the norm, the recent pullback by investors and capital combined with the changes in government mandates and market fundamentals leads us to believe that the current market cycle will extend beyond the norm. This should present some interesting investment opportunities for the contrarian investors in the market.Read more
The financing will provide for acquisition and horizontal development of much needed for-sale housing supply within in-fill LA, in close proximity to the Hollywood Park stadium development, which is the largest mixed use infill project underway in the Los Angeles metro area.
LOS ANGELES – 17 May 2017 – Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, has secured $ 31.2 million of land financing for Harridge Development to acquire and start development on a fully-entitled townhome community in Inglewood, CA.
The site consists of 18 acres that had formerly been developed into a hospital and medical campus (now offline). The seller had originally secured approvals to develop 310 units on the site, Harridge is adjusting the existing residential plans for 228 detached condominiums as the newly rebranded “Grace Park”, which will be a gated community. The expected completion date coincides with the expected opening of Hollywood Park stadium in mid-2019.
Grace Park is exceptionally located in the heart of Los Angeles, just blocks away from the future football stadium that will be home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, along with The Forum.
Given the massive amount of development in the immediate area, coupled with the game-changing entry of not one but two NFL franchises to Inglewood, this site is perfectly situated to meet the pent up demand for infill housing, said Shlomi Ronen, managing principal and founder of Dekel Capital.
Harridge has a successful track record of residential entitlement and development in LA County. Harridge has previously acquired 17 residential and commercial projects in Los Angeles County, consisting of existing or projected entitlement for over 3,500 residential units, 1.2 million sf of commercial uses and 470 hotel keys.
About Harridge Development Group
Harridge Development Group is a real estate development company, founded in 2010, focuses on developing land for residential and commercial uses. They have extensive expertise in developing urban districts with single family, PUD, condominium, multifamily and mixed-use projects. HDG develops vacant or under-utilized sites, providing opportunities for community integration and creating places that become gathering points for the people both within and around their projects. Harridge focuses their efforts on the following Southern California markets: Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, San Fernando Valley, Glassell Park, Inglewood, West Los Angeles, Culver City, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, San Gabriel Valley, Santa Barbara, Echo Park and Koreatown. Harridge Development Group has a variety of different partners from large institutional investors to private high net worth individuals.
Harridge Development Group is swooping into Inglewood with a plan to build 228 townhomes on an 18-acre site just a mile from the Los Angeles Rams’ planned $2.6 billion stadium.
Dekel Capital in Century City provided Harridge with acquisition and development financing of $31.2 million.
Read more on Los Angeles Business Journal.Read more
We are looking for a diligent, communicative and detailed individual with a desire to take his/her commercial real estate finance knowledge to the next level. This is a great entry level opportunity to join a growing boutique real estate merchant banking company with both a private equity and capital advisory platforms with a unique culture and a supportive atmosphere.
Ideal candidate is a self motivated team player with a serious desire to work in the commercial real estate finance and/or private equity industry. You must be professional, highly organized, detailed-oriented, and able to handle multiple tasks in a fast paced environment and have a can-do attitude. This individual must possess excellent analytical, written, and verbal communication skills, and ability to prioritize.
Main Responsibilities include:
Compensation: Competitive compensation offered with a bonus component.
About Us: Dekel Capital, Inc. is a real estate merchant banking firm headquartered in Los Angeles. The Company specializes in capital advisory for all asset type throughout the United States as well has a private equity platform that invests in multifamily development projects.
This is a unique entry level position to work in both real estate private equity and capital advisory.
Job Type: Full-time
Required education: Bachelor’s
Required experience: Real Estate Financial Modeling: 1 year
Location: Century City, Los Angeles
Please send your cover letter and resume to [email protected]
The Dekel team will be attending next week’s Crittenden National Real Estate Conference in The Westin, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California on April 27. Dekel Capital is actively sourcing both equity and debt capital for experienced investors targeting opportunistic, value-add and core plus deals.
We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss your investment focus for 2017.
Select equity assignments:
Select debt assignments:
To schedule a meeting, please contact a member of the Dekel Capital team listed below.
Senior Vice President
| Sandy Schmid
We are attending several commercial real estate events in the upcoming months. Please reach out to a member of our management team to set up a meeting during the events listed below.
Crittenden National Real Estate Conference, this three day event brings together Real Estate professionals and offers educational sessions as well as networking events.
Location: The Westin South Coast Plaza
Date: 26-28 April
ULI Spring Meeting, an exclusive, ULI members-only event bringing together top decision makers and industry experts from every sector of real estate.
Location: Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
Date: 2-4 May
CREFC Commercial Real Estate Finance Summit, networking events and finance sessions presented by leading industry participants.
Location: West Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, California
Date: 9-10 May
PCBC, dedicated to advancing the art, science and business of housing, PCBC is the largest homebuilding tradeshow representing the west coast region.
Location: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego
Date: 28-29 June
CMBA, 20th Annual Western States CREF Conference.
Location: Wynn Las Vegas — Las Vegas
Date: 6-8 SeptemberRead more
Among all the market updates and meetings at the Mortgage Bankers Association Conference last month, the one revealing note was that a handful of New York-based bridge debt funds will be opening up offices on the west coast, specifically in Los Angeles.
These debt funds continue to see opportunities to gain market share in a growing niche, as bank financing for the acquisition and recapitalization of transitional assets continues to be curtailed in the face of cumbersome regulatory frameworks.
Beyond expanding their footprint, the bridge debt fund peer group is also enlarging the strike zone – taking on smaller deals, reemerging aggressively as an option for properties with little in-place cash flow, and looking at smaller markets – a change from the sense in the market as recent as six months ago.
With the increased competition in the lender peer group, our clients are benefiting from tighter spreads and lower fees, specific to west coast deals where having boots on the ground allows lenders to fully understand the story and its risk mitigants.
A couple of capital market factors are helping propel this growth in bridge lending. (In order for these debt funds to achieve their targeted low to mid-teens return, they leverage their capital with either bank financing or securitized vehicles, CLOs.)
Firstly, banks are playing a significant role, as more banks focus their lending capacity (away from construction lending) to providing increased leverage and relaxed terms to the debt funds – expanding the amount of lending capacity of these debt funds who are typically capitalized via committed funds or allocations for hedge funds.
Secondly, the securitization market for floating rate debt has returned (CLOs) and offers additional access point for debt funds to recycle capital.
Lastly, as a mitigant to lower origination volume expected in 2017 as a result of the volatility experienced in 2016 and the new risk retention rules that came into effect recently more CMBS lenders are offering floating rate, short-term debt products as a lead-source for fixed rate CMBS execution.
Dekel Strategic Investors, a division of Dekel Capital, has hit $100 million in equity financing, a major milestone for the firm, which has focused on joint venture equity for multifamily deals.
The firm launched its equity program three years ago and strategically focused on joint venture deals and multifamily properties.
“This milestone really puts us on the map now,” Ronen tells GlobeSt.com. “When you are a start-up, there are always concerns about your ability to execute, and now having done $100 million, we are a real player in the space.”Read more
The market chatter at the end of 2016 centered around the pending wave of CMBS maturities, as well as, what anyone’s guess would be as to the new administration’s early moves regarding regulatory changes or rolling back Dodd Frank and other policies that had constrained the credit market in recent years, which had particularly held back the reemergence of the banking sector.
The President signed an Executive Order in the first week of February to scale back the Dodd Frank regulations that were installed as a reaction to the financial crisis. Related to this Executive Order, we expect to see more details in the coming months with regards to the loosening of regulations that the banks have had to decipher and navigate in recent years. We anticipate that this easing of banking regulations should result in lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses alike, as well as, will inject additional liquidity in the lending market.
That said, the New Year has brought with it tightening of loan underwriting standards for specific to construction loans – as bank credit officers are directed to pump the brakes due to allocation and exposure to construction loans (specifically Multifamily) after the run up in the past few years. As well, many banks have been active in the multifamily sector in recent years and thus are looking to diversify their exposure to other product types.
We are seeing loan underwriting criteria continue to evolve whereby Banks are underwriting un-trended rents and have increased their stress test levels on both debt yield requirements and debt service coverage ratios. This is lowering construction loans to size to 60-65% of cost in comparison with last year loans were sizing to 65%-70% of cost.
In the face of these constraints on bank debt leverage, coupled with the pending wave of maturities of CMBS loans, a number of new mezzanine and preferred equity lenders have proliferated in the middle market commercial real estate space.
We have identified several of these mezzanine and preferred equity groups that are willing to take on construction risk and are layering their capital behind construction lenders, enabling our developer clients to push leverage up to 85% of cost, at yields that range between 9 and 14 percent.
These mezzanine groups have been calling on us as they have capital allocations to deploy and are eager to expand their network of senior bank lenders and developer sponsors with which they transact. As well, a handful of capital sources are offering “full stack” construction financing up to 85% LTC as competitive rates, offering decreased deal costs and execution risk.
To conclude, despite the loosening of oversight that is anticipated from Washington this year, Banks have taken a more conservative approach to construction lending in 2017. Borrowers that still need higher leverage construction financing (beyond 60-65% of cost) do have a solution that we can help facilitate through the addition of mezzanine or preferred equity to the capital structure.
Despite all the noise out of Washington since the inauguration, so far things seem to be business as usual for our clients and the capital partners that we work with. We are not hearing about anybody making drastic changes to their capital markets plans for 2017 as a result of the election.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in getting your project over this hurdle and finding the best capital source for your needs.
Dekel Strategic Investors, a division of Dekel Capital focused on development of multifamily and senior housing has invested over $100 million in equity.
For inquiries contact Shlomi Ronen, Managing Partner.
For information on investment criteria: dekelcapital.com/dsiRead more
We are attending the Mortgage Bankers Association CREF / Multifamily Conference February 20th and 21st in San Diego. We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss your capital strategies for 2017.
Find out more about our recent multifamily transactions and other deals by visiting our news section.
To schedule a meeting, please contact Sandy Schmid.
Dekel Capital is ready to discuss your unique capital challenges at the NMHC 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego.
With proven expertise in capital market advisory and private equity, we look forward to starting the conversation on how Dekel Capital can structure and source financing to provide the certainty of execution to close your next multi-housing deal.
Through our proprietary JV-equity program we also make select investments and partner with local developers in ground-up multifamily, senior housing, and student housing developments.
To schedule a meeting, please contact Sandy Schmid.Read more
LOS ANGELES/TUCSON, Calif.—Jan. 10, 2017— Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate merchant bank that specializes in sourcing and placing equity and debt for active middle market commercial real estate developers and investors, has placed $25 million in financing for the construction and development of Sage Tucson, an assisted living and memory care development located in the Northwest Tucson Casas Adobes submarket.
The deal was capitalized with a $17 million construction loan arranged through Dekel Capital’s advisory practice and $8.4 million JV-Equity funded by the firm’s proprietary equity fund, Dekel Strategic Investors (DSI). Construction on the 106-unit, Class A senior housing development, located at W Orange Grove Road and broke ground in late 2016, construction to last 18 months.
“Sage Tucson presents a first-rate opportunity for investment due to the exceptionally strong rental market in Tucson, the superior location and the remarkable demographics.” Said Shlomi Ronen, managing principal and founder of Dekel Capital.
The Sage Tucson assisted living and memory care facility will contain a total of 106 units consisting of 86 assisted living units and 20 memory care units. The project will feature a 2-story structure with a fitness center, community room, craft room, beauty salon, recreational lounge, theater, therapy room and outdoor courtyards on a 9.55-acre site.
Sage Tucson has street frontage on West Orange Grove Road, which is an east/west artery that connects to the I-10 Freeway and State Route 77 and has a daily visibility of 23,000 cars. The facility is also located within two blocks of the Northwest Medical Center and in close proximity to the Foothills Mall, located 2 miles from the property, which includes a roster of national rental tenants.
Sage Tucson was DSI’s 3rd JV-equity investment with development partner, Willis Development, and their first senior housing investment in Arizona. DSI and Willis Development previously partners on two senior housing developments in California: Kingston Bay in Fresno, which is currently in lease up, and Sage Mountain in Thousand Oaks which broke ground Mid-2016.
DSI, a division of Dekel Capital, provides equity capital to real estate developers engaging in multifamily, senior housing, student housing and retail development projects. To date, DSI has invested over $100M across 11 deals and is actively looking for more investment opportunities.
About Willis Development:
Willis Development was founded by Wayne Naphtal with the intent to develop senior living properties. Mr. Naphtal has over thirty years of accomplished real estate development experience from acquisition to project disposition. Prior to forming Willis Development, Mr. Naphtal founded First Family Homes and led the full cycle of development from entitlement to disposition for multi-family residential properties in excess of $500 million. In addition to Sage Tucson, Mr. Naphtal has recently completed a 120 bed Assisted Living + Memory Care facility in Fresno, CA and is under construction on a 130 bed Assisted Living + Memory Care facility in Thousand Oaks, CA.Read more
Next year, the final round of CMBS debt from the last cycle will mature. In total, it is about $86 billion in CMBS debt that will need to be refinanced, and according to Shlomi Ronen, principal and founder of Dekel Capital, that is great news for the capital markets because it will create “forced transaction volume,” and will create a lot of opportunities. To find out more, we sat down with Ronen from an exclusive interview to talk about the state of the CMBS market, what to expect next year and if the push for early refinance for CMBS borrowers has helped to ease the burden.Read more
Dekel Capital will be attending the 14th installment of the Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing, January 18-20, 2017, The Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, CA.
Last year, Dekel Strategic Investors, a division of Dekel Capital, invested $30 million in JV-Equity across three projects. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss your equity needs for your next multifamily or senior housing project.
As 2016 comes to a close, we find ourselves at a precipice of two significant events in the RE sector to bear in mind for 2017.
Over the past 5 years, there has been a lot of discussion and preparation for the wave of 2007 vintage CMBS loan maturities and the looming opportunities it presents. More recently, as the result of the nomination of President Elect Trump, we are seeing a changing political and regulatory climate. Recent insights into his administration’s proposed policy seem to be focused on bank deregulation, as well as, divestment from government sponsored agencies; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The confluence of these two significant events present an opportunity to make 2017 a banner year for real estate transactions.
At the beginning of 2015 there was roughly $230 billion of CMBS loans set to mature by 2017, raising concern in the capital markets as to how these loan maturities would be absorbed and handled come 2017. According to CREFC, out of the estimated $230 billion originated in 2007, there is approximately $87 billion scheduled to mature next year. This figure is far more manageable and much lower than anticipated a year ago.
Of the $90 billion, the retail and office sectors make up the largest volume of loans coming due, approximately $30 billion and $24.6 billion respectively, along with high LTVs (over 80%). These high LTV loan maturities, originated during an era of looser underwriting standards, will present an opportunity for investors and mezzanine lenders alike as conventional financing using todays underwriting standards will not be sufficient to refinance the outstanding loan balances in their entirety.
Conversely, this may also result in increased delinquencies in CMBS loans, foreclosures, and eventual REO sales which will take time to resolve and bleed into 2018 and 2019.
With the risk retention regulations coming into play with respect to CMBS, we expect CMBS loan origination to be further constrained in 2017 unless there are changes to the regulatory framework. While the regulations, which require lenders to retain a stake in loans originated, will ultimately help overall CMBS loan quality, the cost of doing so will ultimately be passed onto the borrowers. This may result in CMBS becoming less competitive and alternative sources of financing stepping in.
The President Elect’s new treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin has been vocal recently about de-regulating the banks and exiting out of the ownership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While we have not been privy to the details of the new administration’s plans there has been some discussion that Dodd-frank (the framework governing risk retention laws, the Volker Rule, and reserve requirements) will be revisited.
Loosening of banking regulation resulting in increased liquidity from banks would be positive for the real estate sector. There are many unanswered questions as to the process and how the administration will handle exiting ownership from government sponsors agencies, Fannie and Freddie. These agencies have been the backbone to cheap capital which has helped sustain the high transactional activity in the multifamily sector. If the spin-off of Fannie and Freddie reduces to the availability of capital and increases pricing, there will be significant implication to pricing of MF properties.
As we approach 2017, the confluence of these two events have the potential to make 2017 a banner year in terms of transaction volumes for the real estate industry.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in getting your project over this hurdle and finding the best capital source for your needs.Read more
Dekel Capital has successfully placed $20 million in bridge financing for the acquisition of an obsolete retail center in Granada Hills, CA (the “Property”).
The 8+ acre site is situated in a desirable location for a mixed-use development in the San Fernando Valley. The existing retail center is currently 79% occupied, lacks a conventional anchor tenant and has considerable deferred maintenance. As a result the Property was not suitable for traditional bank financing. Dekel Capital structured a $20 million, 12-month, non-recourse bridge loan with Buchanan Street Partners that will allow the sponsor to redevelop or reposition the existing retail center.
The San Fernando Valley submarket is one of the tightest multifamily markets in Greater Los Angeles area, presenting a prime opportunity for redevelopment within a supply constrained submarket, said Shlomi Ronen, managing principal and founder of Dekel Capital.
Of the lender, Buchanan Street Partners, Shlomi Ronen said “they were quick to understand the business plan as well as the value creation that our client realized while under contract to acquire the Asset. This gave us and our Client great confidence in their ability to execute on the loan request.”
For additional information please get in touch with Barbara Barnes – Gravesteijn, our media contact.
Dekel Capital has secured $ 6.9 million of joint venture equity financing for Haven Realty Capital (“Haven”) to acquire and reposition La Ventana Apartments in northwest Las Vegas.The project’s financing structure includes $6.9 million in Dekel Capital-sourced JV equity, a floating rate senior loan from Freddie Mac and sponsor equity.
“Through a number of introductory meetings led by Dekel, Haven became a known entity to key institutional equity groups in the multifamily sector,” said Shlomi Ronen, founder and managing principal of Dekel Capital.
Dekel started introductory meetings with a number of equity partners and Haven early in the process which showcased Haven’s experience and interest in acquiring assets in California, Nevada and Arizona. These meetings allowed equity groups the opportunity to better understand Haven’s business plan when the La Ventana project was presented.
Located at 2901 N. Rainbow Blvd. in North Las Vegas, the 256-unit La Ventana Apartments complex is set to undergo an extensive value-add renovation to meet the demand of a growing professional tenant profile in the immediate area. Haven expects to complete the renovation and stabilize the property over 36 months.
“With its thriving entertainment and hospitality-based economy, in addition to recent developments in its technology and healthcare sectors, Las Vegas is becoming one of the nation’s most desirable and affordable metropolitan areas,” said Sudha Reddy, co-founder and managing principal of Haven Realty Capital.
“Haven has extensive investment experience in the Las Vegas market and believes La Ventana Apartments will provide a significant value-add opportunity.”
The La Ventana Apartments acquisition marks Haven Realty’s third multifamily acquisition in Las Vegas over the past 12 months. The sponsor also operates a portfolio of 600 single-family rentals in Las Vegas and an additional 1400 single family homes in CA and IL.
La Ventana Apartments is in close proximity to the newly expanded Mountain View Hospital, four retail shopping centers and has exposure to strong traffic counts of 20,500 vehicles daily. The property, built in 1989, incorporates one- and two-bedroom units in 17 separate standing buildings on 13.5 acres. With 401 parking spaces, La Ventana Apartments features on-site amenities including in-unit washers and dryers, built-in kitchen appliances and a semi-private entrance in addition to private balconies and patios. The two-story complex also offers a swimming pool and spa, fitness center and children’s playground.
Dekel Capital was in attendance at the Western States CREF Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, where we met with capital sources across the lending spectrum to get updated insights on lending programs and trends in today’s capital markets.
The current sentiment is that lenders have recovered from the general market turbulence that reverberated through the industry in the first quarter of the year. Both bridge lenders and fixed rate lenders are now providing fluid supply of debt to meet borrowers’ needs through the end of 2016, albeit at tighter leverage levels than 12 months prior and with a greater focus on in-place cash flow or pre-leasing.
The evolving gap in the market for bank lender construction financing (as bank lenders have met allocation levels and are reserving capacity for existing clients) has allowed private debt funds to partially fill this void and become more active players in the space. These traditionally “bridge” lenders aim to differentiate themselves by providing flexible construction loan structures and providing asset management and loan servicing in-house – offering some respite for borrowers who are more accustomed to bank pricing for construction financing. Additionally, given the pullback in leverage by bank construction lenders, construction mezzanine debt and preferred equity investments are being offered by private funds with leverage up to 85% LTC achievable for commercial real estate, and potentially higher for multifamily projects. In some cases, lenders are offering a combined senior + mezz “stretch senior” structure that offers a single capital source for borrowers with larger, heavy value-add and construction projects (20M+).
CMBS lenders have seen recent deals priced wider in the face of the regulatory changes pending. Recent AAA securitizations have priced from 102-108 and BBBs have ranged from 525-625. Given the trending among borrowers to lock in rates on longer-term financing, new fixed rate debt mezzanine players are also entering the market, offering longer-term products to complement CMBS (as well as life company and bank loans).
We highlight here a few loan programs that stood out in our discussions with capital sources at the conference:
Mezz/Pref Equity Construction Financing:
Deal marks $100 million funded through Dekel Capital’s JV equity platform
LOS ANGELES/THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—Sept. 22, 2016—Dekel Strategic Investors (DSI), a proprietary equity fund of Dekel Capital that provides equity capital to real estate developers engaging in multifamily and senior housing development projects, has placed $16.1 million in equity for the development of Sage Mountain Senior Living. The 130-unit, 58,154-square-foot assisted living and memory care facility will be located in Thousand Oaks, California.
With the closing of this deal, DSI has now invested over $100 million in equity, since the platform was launched in January 2014.
“DSI was formed to facilitate deals such as this, to fill the recognized gap in the capital markets for equity investment between $4 and $10 million,” said Shlomi Ronen, managing principal and founder of Dekel Capital. “We continue to see a need for this valuable platform, particularly as demand grows for quality senior housing projects of this size throughout the U.S.”
As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the population of Americans over the age of 65 will nearly double by 2050. As a result, quality senior living options for the aging community are in high demand, and projects like Sage Mountain Senior Living meet this need.
Sage Mountain Senior Living will house 98 assisted living units, along with 32 memory care units within a secure memory care wing. Each unit in the four-story building will average 453 square feet and will be fully handicap accessible, equipped with extra wide doors and handicap bathroom fixtures. Amenities for the project include a salon, fitness room, library and a 41-space subterranean parking garage.
“Sage Mountain Senior Living presented a prime opportunity for investment in new construction within a supply-constrained submarket, where similar care facilities are not being built,” said Ronen. “This, along with the strong comps in the surrounding area, gave our investors confidence in the property’s potential for stabilization and success.”
The property’s accessibility off of U.S. Highway 101 provides great visibility for the project, while its quiet cul-de-sac location offers privacy for its future residents. Sage Mountain Senior Living is also located in close proximity to major retail centers, including The Oaks, a regional shopping mall, and The Promenade at Westlake.
Construction started in early September 2016 and is tentatively scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2018.
The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday it will not raise its benchmark interest rates and expects to raise rates more slowly in the coming years. The Fed has decided to stick with its cautious approach to adjusting monetary policy, as recent economic indicators have continued to be mixed. With only 38,000 jobs added in May, job growth has declined, yet economic growth has shown signs of improvement. As such, 15 of 17 policymakers project no more than two rate hikes this year, and six of those officials expect just one rate hike for the remainder of 2016. The Fed will meet again in July and September.
Global economic uncertainty and the recent Fed announcement have promoted a flight to safety that has caused the 10-year treasury yield to close at 1.594 percent, its lowest closing level since December 2012. The negative yielding bonds from Asia and Europe have also played a part, as these investors continue to purchase U.S. Treasury Bonds and, in turn, drive yields lower.
Regulatory Impact on Housing Affordability
New banking regulations that are coming into effect are restraining construction lending and the delivery of supply. In turn, these restrictions, combined with increasing demand for multifamily housing, are further impacting housing affordability issues prevalent in core urban markets. In a time when home ownership is at already historic lows, people are increasingly relying on multifamily rentals for housing. With this evolving development, existing project owners are benefiting, while renters and developers are being heavily burdened.
In the first quarter of 2016, non-seasonally-adjusted U.S. home ownership rates dropped to 63.5 percent both on a quarterly and yearly basis, down from 63.8 percent at the end of 2015 and 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to St. Louis Fed data and generally falling in line with the U.S. Census estimate. Currently, home ownership rates are at their lowest since 1967, with similar rates last seen in 1985. The current sustainable dynamics indicate a faltering market, reflecting the overall weakness in economic growth and inefficiency of monetary policy.
Amidst declining home ownership, the multifamily segment of the market looks relatively bright and fundamentals remain relatively strong. The National Association of Home Builders’ Multifamily Production Index (MPI) shows a reading of 58 in the first quarter of 2016 compared to a reading of 59 in 2015, still above the long-term average of 49 since the index was started in 2003. The MPI is a weighted average of current production indexes for low-rent, market-rent and for-sale units, and can vary from 0 to 100, where any number over 50 indicates more builders report stronger rather than weaker conditions. In May, REIS reported the nationwide occupancy rate was 96 percent in April, down 10 basis points from March, but flat with the first quarter average.
In an effort to make banking safer after the 2008 market crash, we are now seeing the effects of financial rules taking shape, specifically in the form of the Basel III banking regulations and HVCRE rules, which went into effect at the beginning of 2015. As mentioned in our April article, banks have become increasingly concerned with their risk exposure to CRE loans, in particular construction loans, and are tightening their underwriting standards. In certain cases, they are reserving capacity solely for long-standing relationships. Their balance sheets are even more constrained, further limiting the amount of money going into new development deals, impacting availability and pricing, as they become more conservative in terms of leverage and, in some cases, ask for partial recourse.
While these regulations work to make banking a safer practice as a whole, they are making it more difficult for developers to obtain the financing necessary to move forward with development projects and deliver supply amidst declining vacancy rates, rising rents and pent-up demand. Many core urban markets already face significant supply constraints in the form of a lack of developable land and community opposition. These constraints have a tendency to increase as new projects consume land and developers build resistance. Market participants can now expect the added burden of banking regulation to result in the slowing of multi-housing construction and exacerbating of affordability problems.
Certainly, financial regulators and the rules they enforce are intended to look out for the safety of depositors and their funds. The institutions they regulate are regional, national and international in nature and not designed to respond to local market conditions. However, there are ways to recognize local conditions. For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac determine conforming home mortgage size limits based on zip code, signaling a willingness and capacity to accommodate for local conditions.
Benefit and Burden
While the housing shortage and affordability component is widely seen as a burden, it directly benefits owners and developers who are ahead of the game. Those who own rental housing or already have projects under construction have less future supply competition to worry about. As the supply of affordable housing is outpaced by demand, more would-be home buyers are turning to rentals, allowing landlords to raise rents accordingly. Additionally, developers who already have loan commitments or projects under construction have a distinct advantage and can capitalize on the shortage, with higher rents and ease of lease-up due to lack of new product.
Developers seeking financing for projects in their pipeline are now having to expand beyond their known lending sources, find other banks and consider alternative financing in the form of debt funds. With tighter construction lending conditions becoming the new reality, we are seeing higher borrowing costs, which are passed on to the end-consumer in the form of higher rents and greater delays in bringing new product to market. Additionally, developers might not meet anticipated project returns due to higher costs of borrowing and may even decide to postpone projects altogether.
As a group, renters might be households that cannot afford to buy, cannot qualify for a home mortgage or simply choose to rent by lifestyle choice. In high-rent markets, finding housing is difficult enough for many of them, as they sometimes pay over 50 percent of annual income on housing alone. As such, many renters fall into the category of severely cost-burdened households according to the Department of Housing and Urban Developments’ (HUD) rule which uses a maximum of 30 percent of annual income to determine if housing is affordable, which is not realistic in supply constrained markets. Collectively, these households ultimately suffer when additional impediments to supply are added to their list of challenges.
Sandy Schmid has joined Dekel Capital as a Director where he is focused on new business relationships, investor relations, and raising equity and debt for investors and developers.
With over 10 years of real estate experience, Schmid’s background in development and finance brings a hands-on understanding of each client’s real estate assets and their unique capital needs. Prior to joining Dekel, he served in leadership positions at several firms within development and finance, touching almost every aspect of the real estate spectrum throughout his career.
Previously, Schmid directed acquisitions and managed development at Blue Ridge West, LLC, a boutique developer of multifamily and hospitality properties, in addition to underwriting prospective and controlled projects as a development associate at SummerHill Apartment Communities, where he was instrumental in raising debt and equity capital for the company’s projects. He has also worked at Wells Fargo’s Real Estate Banking Group as an assistant vice president/relationship manager. Schmid began his real estate career as an architectural draftsman, working on custom residential and commercial projects.
Schmid earned both his MBA and MRED from the University of Southern California and completed his undergraduate studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.
He is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.Read more
Since the beginning of 2016, our conversations with capital sources have made it abundantly clear that concerns over a tighter global financial outlook and the implementation of new regulations have caused a shift in lender sentiment. This comes at a time when the strong demand for new construction loans is consistent with 12 months ago, but the supply of capital is constrained as lenders react to allocation issues as well as the Basel III regulations.
As banks become increasingly concerned with their exposure to risk in CRE loans, specifically construction loans, they are tightening their underwriting standards and, in certain cases, reserving capacity for existing borrowers.
Here are a few tips you need to know to attract the shrinking pool of construction loan dollars:
Banking Relationships Matter
As the high volatility commercial real estate (HVCRE) rules take shape and developers continue to reach out to banks for their construction needs, relationships are becoming increasingly important as construction loan dollars are constrained. Banks, for the most part, are now restricted and preserving any remaining construction capacity for existing client relationships or requiring a good reason to entertain new prospects.
In addition, the request for a strong deposit relationship has returned to the scene. As always, we feel it is part of our role to provide our clients with options and multiple good banking relationships to avoid the “meet and greet” phase when they’re pressed for time.
Click here for additional information on HVCRE and exceptions for qualifying loans
Answer Questions Before Lenders Ask
Banks that do have remaining capacity for construction loans are now receiving such an influx of new requests that the length of the review process has drastically increased. This has also caused banks to become more selective, even on “cleaner” deals.
While the length of the review process remains a constant variable, we are able to cut through the noise by targeting specific lenders that we know, through our experience, have closed similar deals and currently have the ability and proper lending programs to meet that specific request. In a constrained market, it’s important to show potential lenders that you’ve already addressed any concerns in your request in order to combat future issues.
And just as we maintain good banking relationships for our clients, we also understand the unique nuances of development and construction financing. As such, we can best position their project in a concise, complete financing package that respects lenders’ limited time, which assists in receiving a quick “yes” or “no” that is so critical to each project’s success.
So as the supply of construction loans dollars decreases, we find that matching the right project to the right lender, leveraging relationships and recognizing the impact new regulations have on lending practices, will make all the difference in approval of our client’s next construction loan.
Recognize the Role CMBS Plays
As discussed in our previous Capital Markets Insights article – we predicted CMBS loan volume to decrease in 2016 largely due to the widening of spreads; Dodd-Frank, which requires 5% retained by loan originator for 5 years; and Regulation AB. Regulation AB, which will also go into effect in January 2017, will hold senior executives personally liable for loan performance and make them certify they are unaware of any undisclosed negative aspects. For this reason, we may see banks directly originate CMBS loans to hold the 5% requirement and to avoid loan kick outs. We may see banks tighten warehouse lines to mitigate risk as CMBS originators are working to discern the full impact of the new regulations.
The increased risk weight for banks as it relates to high volatility commercial real estate (HVCRE) went into effect at the beginning of this year. The result is that all acquisition, development and construction (ADC) CRE loans must be reported separately from other CRE loans and are to be assigned a risk weighting of 150% for risk-based capital purposes – above the typical requirement of 100%. This will have a significant impact on banks’ capital ratios and ability to lend at historic pricing levels. It is important to note that these restrictions are related to real estate, specifically construction, and not the macro-economy.
However, there are some exceptions for qualifying commercial ADC loans allowing a risk weighting of 100% if the following requirements are met:
The HVCRE requirements are changing the way lenders reserve for construction lending and impacting availability and pricing, including becoming more conservative in terms of leverage or asking for partial recourse. Lenders are more focused on leverage and execution. Many lenders are now topping out at 60% LTC for construction, with a heavy focus on pre-leasing. Other lenders are also pulling back on specific property types – like hospitality, spec office, retail – and have decided to pause construction loans altogether, unless the deal is highly compelling or a repeat borrower.
We have arrived at an inflection point in which lenders are becoming more sensitive to construction and more focused on clean deals to avoid scrutiny by internal credit committee and regulators.Read more
Shlomi Ronen, founder and managing principal at Dekel Capital, was featured in the National Real Estate Investor’s article Get Ready for Liquidity Crunch in Late 2016? on March 11th, 2016.
The article discusses what is causing the choppiness in the CMBS markets, and alternatives where borrowers are heading to refinance pending loan maturities. As well as, how these events could affect the capital markets in the second half of 2016.
The full article can be found hereRead more
In this edition of Capital Insights, we dive into what is causing the choppiness in the CMBS markets, and alternatives where borrowers are heading to refinance pending loan maturities. As well, we consider how these events could affect the capital markets in the second half of 2016.
Choppiness in the CMBS Markets
CMBS issuances year-to-date as of February 12th have been a paltry $6.5 billion, compared to $13.7 billion for the same time period in 2015. Given the robust (or at least steady) flow of positive national economic employment and spending figures, we ask – why are CMBS originators pumping the brakes?
Unlike the last cycle in which lax underwriting precipitated the initial slowdown in the CMBS market, in this case there are various external factors that are making it hard for CMBS lenders to price new loans competitively and commit to terms prior to closing.
First, the number of CMBS lenders has shrunk. As spreads continued to widen through Q4 2015, various players missed their break-evens in the December 2015 securitizations, and were pushed out of the market. The insight from our recent survey of CMBS lenders is that the market will “barbell” as mid-sized origination shops are squeezed out by large originators that are securitizing on a frequent basis, and niche lenders that are bound to specific product types or geographies. The focus is now on execution, after a volatile Q4 in which the spread on benchmark CMBS paper blew out, squeezing profits and causing higher spreads on new loans.
Second, CMBS bond buyers are still finding their feet in the New Year. Spreads for the “rated” tranches of the recent CMBS securitizations are being pushed wider as these bond buyers look to the relative value of widened spreads on corporate bonds and demanded the same (or higher) returns from CMBS bonds. Had this just been typical “noise” in the market, CMBS spreads would have pinched back in or stabilized at a wider spread, but in this case the pending regulatory requirements (set to take effect in December 2016) for the “unrated” B-Piece of the CMBS securitizations is leading to a greater uncertainty in nascent business model of CMBS 2.0, as CMBS originators and private funds reconfigure the capital used for B-Piece purchases. The new regulations will require CMBS originators to keep a stake in their originations and hold the risk on their balance sheets for 5 years in an attempt to discourage risky lending and keep their “skin in the game”.
As a result, CMBS originators are treading cautiously – pricing loans with enough “cushion” and regressing to primary markets. Subtle innovations include a “spread lock” mechanism for large loan borrowers, as well as, lenders raising capital to acquire their own “unrated” B-Piece tranches in separate vehicles. Borrowers who would traditionally look to a CMBS refinance are looking elsewhere, as re-trades on pricing and terms in the turmoil of year end have now readjusted their expectations on leverage and focus on certainty of execution.
CMBS Alternatives / Liquidity Crunch in Late 2016
Dekel Capital recently conducted a comprehensive survey of the banks, debt funds, and life companies that are soaking up the pending loan maturities that one year ago would have gone to CMBS. Market sentiment is positive as debt funds are seeing more business as borrowers look for better execution and/or 36 months of runway to decide to either sell the product or place fixed rate pricing on it. Additionally, there are life companies with products pushing leverage to 70% LTV. These newer products can rate lock at application and are priced competitively against CMBS pricing.
Market input is that the 2016 lending capacity for debt funds, life companies, and banks may be deployed by later summer, leading to a potential liquidity crunch should deals come up against a pending loan maturity. The equity groups we speak with on a regular basis have echoed this sentiment, modeling their own exit scenarios and are shifting away from investing in vacant office conversions or retail repositions involving a significant period of downtime, with the focus in-place cash flow.
Capital to Highlight:
Dekel Capital has identified a Life Company with ample capital to deploy for long-term fixed rate loans. The loan program can push leverage to 70% LTV, fixed or floating rate terms are available at competitive pricing.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in finding the best capital source for your needs.Read more
In the first few weeks of 2016, we have seen the stock market retreat due to global economic and geopolitical uncertainty. This uncertainty has promoted a flight to safety that, in turn, has caused treasury yields to drop 28 basis points since the start of the year. While the drop in treasuries is generally a good thing for real estate capital markets, investors and developers, it has had a profound impact on CMBS lenders who have not seen this kind of rate volatility in quite some time.
In this month’s publication we discuss how construction lenders, CMBS originators and B-Piece buyers are adjusting to the volatility in the bond market and the pending implementation of new regulation, as well as the federal banking agencies’ hawkeyed statement for risk management in commercial real estate lending.
Construction & Bridge Lender Survey
Dekel Capital recently conducted a comprehensive survey of construction lenders. Market sentiment is positive and the expectation is for another busy year. Market volatility in the past six months is recognized but market specific growth drivers remain robust and new projects are being underwritten to trended market rent and absorption levels.
The national banks, regional banks, and debt funds that fueled the boom in construction and heavy value-add projects through the end of 2015 have not lost momentum, maintaining a strong appetite for construction lending with a focus on residential, creative office, and hospitality projects. With an eye on adjusting exposure among product types, lender feedback in the new year indicates a desire to deploy more capital into student housing and senior housing, as well as, for retail – assuming strong preleasing in place prior to breaking ground. Specifically, one regional lender has indicated they have a new allocation of $100M of non-recourse construction financing for new student housing developments. Recourse lenders are maintaining their sizing parameter at 75% of project cost, with non-recourse lenders coming in slightly tighter.
Bridge lenders are also seeing increased activity as borrowers with maturing CMBS loans are looking for alternatives in the short term. Bridge funds are well capitalized and have the capacity to lend across all product types at competitive floating rate pricing.
CMBS Lenders Adjusting to Volatility
The continued volatility of the bond market has affected borrowers and places pressure on originators that have to hold loans on their books for any protracted period of time – 30 days or more. This has been a distinct advantage for the larger originators as they are frequently out to market faster than the smaller origination groups.
Yesterday, the 10-year treasury fell below 2% for the second time this month, a drop of 28 basis points since the start of the year and its lowest level since October 2014. The sharp decline was matched by increases in AAA spreads as investors in the top rated tranches hit their yield floors thereby causing CMBS spreads to widen accordingly, and many CMBS lenders to adjust their quoted spreads in applications. This spread adjustment has hurt borrowers in process with CMBS loans who would usually benefit from declining treasury rates.
While 2015 proved to be a difficult year for a number of CMBS originators, CMBS is still a great option for high leverage, long-term, non-recourse and cheap debt. However, considering the recent volatility and new regulatory pressures impact on originators profitability, we expect there to be some consolidation in the number of CMBS lenders in 2016.
B-Piece Buyers Required to Hold Positions Long Term
The risk-retention regulations, part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that ensure B-piece buyers hold B-pieces for at least five years, amongst other things, are set to take effect in December 2016. As this date approaches, many buyers and investors are gaining a clearer idea of how the regulations impact them, specifically the five-year hold mandate after purchasing the bottom five percent of a securitization.
Investors usually retain the unrated notes and single B-class for their high yields and fee-rich, special-servicing rights and look to sell single some B-notes and low-yielding B-class to infuse fresh capital for new purchases. However, the regulations stipulate that B-pieces must be sold intact, unless two-thirds of the collateral balance has been retired which can be more than five years due to limited amortization in conduit deals and loan extensions. This results in B-piece buyers retaining the bonds for the life of the loan or more and in some cases, lock up a B-piece buyer’s investment for more than a decade. As we get closer to the regulation start date, we may see B-piece buyers changing to a long-term hold strategy and setting up strategic long-term funds.
Agencies Statement on Prudent Risk Management for CRE Lending
As 2015 concluded, federal banking agencies issued a joint statement cautioning the commercial real estate industry and explaining how they will be proactively monitoring financial institutions using risk management practices. The decision came as a result of the agencies’ increased suspicion that CRE’s recent lending growth might not be sustainable long term. The market, driven by historically low cap rates and rising property values, has surged and banks have been lowering underwriting standards to keep up with competition.
The new, prudent risk management practices may slow down CRE lending in 2016 as banks begin to tighten standards under the pressure of federal agencies’ supervision. However, this close monitoring of banks will give non-regulated lenders a prime opportunity to increase their volume throughout the new year.
Click here to read the joint statement.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in finding the best capital source for your needs.Read more
Regulatory changes and market movements have dominated the news cycle for capital markets this month, so we’ve outlined the top items you need to know for what lies ahead in 2016.
Present: Interest Rate Hike
The U.S. economy entered a new era this week with the Fed’s decision to increase short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. This move did not come as a surprise to the market. After months of deliberation and allusions to a possible hike by members of the Fed, capital markets have already priced in the new 0.25%-to-0.5% rate increase. In their statement Wednesday, the Fed left the door open for further rate increases next year as the economic indicators continue to strengthen, and the economy reaches the 2% inflation target.
In its rational to initiate an increase, the Fed cited that the low interest rate environment has met its intended goal to stimulate the economy. The allure of the low interest rate environment in particular drove an influx of capital into the market from both foreign and national investors seeking to capitalize on the increasingly healthier US economy.
Past: Setting the Stage in 2015
Capital providers looking to fund investments flooded major gateway cities and primary markets, which resulted in investor focus and financing options shifting to secondary markets. The economic drivers in secondary markets have remained at healthy levels, along with strong jobs data and employment growth, giving lenders more comfort and resulting in a strong lending outlook for the upcoming year.
The conduit lenders and agencies each hit a minor roadblock in 2015. Conduit spreads widened significantly over the summer, driven by fluctuations in the Chinese stock market as well as an abundance of issuance. Agency lenders surprised the market early in the second-quarter of 2015 by curtailing lending and widening spreads due to lending capacity limits, with some exceptions for affordable and smaller properties.
Future: Looking to 2016
How the wall of CMBS maturities will impact the market remains one of the biggest question marks for capital markets moving into 2016.
We can see from the chart below that CMBS issuance saw positive year-over-year growth from Q1-Q3 2014 to the same periods in 2015; however, the market is holding its breath for the wall of CMBS maturities coming down the pipeline, unsure of its impact. Coupled with risk retention requirements beginning in 2016, this may impact the positive momentum built in the last few years and restrict the amount of capital available.
Considering all of this, 2016 is shaping up to be an environment framed by an increasingly constrained flow of capital and higher interest rates – albeit minor compared to the zero rate climate we’ve grown accustomed to for the past seven years. Increased regulatory stipulations will most likely affect leverage and pricing for traditional commercial real estate financing, and may push borrowers to less-regulated sources of capital to fill the gap. An uptick in interest rates could translate into lower cash returns for investors acquiring commercial properties; however, since a hike signals an improving economy, investors may be able to make up the difference with higher rental rates in a market that could support such an increase.Read more
In 2015, we saw a continued low interest rate environment, the implementation of Basel III regulations and a multitude of new entrants to the market in all areas of the capital stack. Looking ahead at 2016, we will see additional constraints put into place on capital flows. These increased regulatory stipulations and constraints on capital will effect leverage and pricing for commercial real estate and have borrowers seeking non-regulated sources of capital to fill the gap.
Risk Retention Requirements for CMBS Lenders
As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the final credit risk retention regulations for asset-backed securities (ABS) is set to be implemented in 2016. This may limit the amount of capital that is available as well as increase the cost of CMBS capital, if it is implemented as written. Groups will have to shift their perspective and investor base to attract longer-term capital due to the five-year hold mandate.
The regulations essentially require a securitizer of ABS to hold 5% of the credit risk of any asset collateralized by issuance for a minimum of five years from the closing date of securitization. On the positive side, well-capitalized funds are being set up to take on the additional risk. While that will help with the availability of capital, it will ultimately have a negative impact on spreads.
FHFA Keeps GSE Multifamily Cap at $30 Billion Each and Adds New Exclusions
In October 2015, the FHFA maintained Fannie & Freddie’s lending cap at $30 billion each in 2016; the same amount as 2015. However, a new quarterly review will be instituted to ease concerns over possible cap breaches and allow for potential adjustments, given current market conditions.
In addition to the exclusions added in 2015 to prioritize affordable housing, low-income apartments in rural areas, senior housing loans, small multifamily properties targeting low-income tenants and energy efficiency improvements will also be excluded in the year to come.
In April of 2015, Fannie and Freddie widened spreads and tightened underwriting in an effort to slow down their lending programs, which were on track to exceed their annual limit of $30 billion by the third quarter of 2015. If by year end, the agencies have reached their cap and a deal does not meet the list of exclusions, companies with balance sheet capabilities could have a distinct advantage by providing financing and holding the loan on book until the cap is refreshed in 2017.
EB-5’s Future at Stakes
The EB-5 visa, a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals that invest money in the U.S., was created in 1990 with the intent to bring investments that would in turn create jobs in the U.S. However, the program began receiving more attention as a result of the financial crash.
Critics say the visa program is poorly regulated, susceptible to fraud and provides an unfair “fast pass” to citizenship for the wealthy. Over the years, some developers have even benefited from this alternative and cheap source of capital by bending provisions meant for rural or high-unemployment areas.
The program was originally set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015, but was extended until Dec. 11, 2015 when Congress will vote on further legislation for the program. California Senator Diane Feinstein, who recently voiced her disapproval for the program and stated it “puts a price on citizenship,” will likely use this opportunity to call on Congress to end the program.
The EB-5 visa program has grown over 700% from $321 million in 2008 to $2.56 billion in 2014, and is expected to generate $4.4 billion in foreign direct investments for 2015. In 2014, a total of 10,692 EB-5 visas were issued, with 85% of those allotted to Chinese investors.
To some, this could be a wakeup call to steer away from programs that rely on government programs and regulation for real estate funding.
The quality of capital seems to be increasingly constrained by regulatory stipulations. Banks are constrained by regulations, the agencies have been capped and risk retention requirements on CMBS may create an artificial cap on CMBS lending. Naturally, a portion of the mortgages have been paid off through defeasance due to low rates but the wall of CMBS maturities is coming and many are concerned with what volume can be met by these highly constrained capital sources. From this, we may see more non-regulated finance companies stepping into the lending space as the banks and CMBS shops that provide over 50% of capital on an annual basis are having their capital limited.Read more
With holiday decorations popping up around town, we are reminded that year-end is just around the corner. While many traditional lending sources – banks, life companies and agencies – have their hands full, active private money lenders are well-capitalized and can fund your year-end acquisition opportunities. These lenders are hungry to meet their own lending goals and have quick-close capabilities to fund deals in as little as two weeks. Dekel Capital has identified a high leverage balance sheet lender that can execute your next financing by year-end.
If you have a pending transaction in need of financing, contact a member of the Dekel Capital executive team to discuss how we can assist in finding the best capital source for your needs.Read more
Fed Delays Rate Increase Bringing Continued Stability and Low Rates To CRE
For the past several months, the commercial real estate industry has been awaiting the decision that would impact not only its bottom line, but also its momentum towards a stronger recovery. While labor markets have strengthened, downward pricing pressure from the decline in oil and commodities has kept inflation below the Federal Reserve’s target. In fact, the Fed took the path of least resistance and voted to keep interest rates at 0.25 percent as inflation remains below the two percent mark.
At the press conference following the Fed’s decision, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen echoed Stanley Fischer’s thoughts during the Jackson Hole Summit last month. Fischer explained that unemployment is not what’s slowing inflation. The lagging inflation is rather a product of a drop in oil and commodity prices, and a rise in the dollar. The strength of the dollar allows for cheaper imports but impedes exports. The Fed offered no insight in a recent press release as to the timing of the rate increase but will do so “when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term,” according to the issued statement.
The 16-1 vote against raising rates today was the first time since January that Fed members were not unanimous in their voting. The decision will be tabled until their next meeting, where projections show 13 policy makers seeing higher rates by the year end. Based on the forecast, we are likely to see only one increase in October or December, down from two in the previous forecast.
The graph below was released in September and shows when FOMC participants find it appropriate to raise interest rates.
The Dot Plot below was released in September and shows where FOMC participants predict the federal funds rate to be. It is important to note that the dot plot is a tool that provides insight as to how the committee members felt at the September meeting.
What does this mean for commercial real estate? The Fed’s decision brings stability and continuation of low interest rates for construction, bridge, and floating rate loans. Additionally, the pressure on bank earnings net interest margin should encourage lenders to increase real estate lending.
Dekel Capital at Western States CREF Conference
While at the Western States CREF Conference in Las Vegas, Dekel Capital saw an increase in new capital providers seeking to gain a toehold among the already competitive field of CMBS Lenders, Bridge Debt Funds, and Bank Lenders.
Non-recourse bridge lending on both cash flowing and non-cash flowing value-add plays is aggressively pricing in the high 4 percent’s to low 6 percent’s across all product types, at up to 80 percent of project costs. The market for non-recourse construction lending is also becoming more fluid at leverage up to 60 percent – 65 percent, as new players enter the space. The new “new money” at CREF was mezzanine debt at up to 85 percent LTV behind CMBS and Agency financing, fully co-terminus with the first TD. This mezz debt prices in the low double digits.
Lastly, banks are also expanding their lending programs, offering fixed rate loans that serve as lower cost options to CMBS and Agency debt, in some cases with more flexible pre-pay structures.
The beginning of 2015 has been eventful for the real estate capital markets. While the jury is still out on what comes next, here are the top five indicators of what’s been and what’s coming:
GE Capital exits the lending business
In April of this year, GE exited the banking business by spinning off GE Capital, the higher risk $500 billion finance business that was 42 percent of company profit last year. The company has already sold $26.5 billion worth of office and CRE debt to Blackstone Group LP, Wells Fargo, and other investors, and is expected to fully divest as early as 2016. Part of the $9 billion portfolio Wells Fargo purchased from GE Capital included loans for manufactured homes and communities, a space dominated by Wells Fargo ($7 billion in loans since 2004) and GE Capital ($6.2 billion loans since 2004). Now, as the clear leader in manufactured home lending, Wells Fargo plans to expand the division and has recently hired Matt Krasinksi and Lew Grace, two GE Capital veterans, to lead the charge. Other lenders have been working towards capturing the $10 billion GE was originating per year of both bridge and permanent loans.
Fannie and Freddie shift gears after high production volume in Q1 and Q2
Also in April, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slowed down their multifamily lending program because both government sponsored enterprises were on track to exceed their annual limit of $30 billion each by Q3 2015. The annual lending caps, which only apply to market rate apartment loans, were established in 2013 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to encourage more private capital in the market. Fannie Mae issued $10.4 billion in Q1 and $14.5 billion during Q2 in multifamily mortgage-backed securities, while Freddie Mac’s multifamily lending volume hit $10 billion for Q1 and $13.1 billion for Q2. This high production volume has been driven by low interest rates, large loan sizes and overall higher demand for apartments as well as deferred business from the end of 2014.
Fannie and Freddie slowed down process by tightening their underwriting and increasing spreads. Currently their focus is on “affordable housing” and properties under 100 units, both of which are excluded from the cap.
Basel III’s impact on construction lending
BASEL III is a global bank framework that proposes further banking regulation on capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk. Basel III was created in an effort to repair the financial crash and restore a proper financial system. It forces banks to hold substantially more capital, or shrink their footprint, which reduces the effect they would have on the financial system if they were to fail.
The overall significance of Basel III is that with banks improving their capital ratios, there will be less liquidity in our global capital system. Because of this, smaller or weaker banks might find it difficult to raise capital, which could ultimately result in banks exiting the market place, merging or being acquired.
High Volatility Commercial Real Estate: Under Basel III, regulators created this new category which applies to acquisition, development and construction loans requiring higher capital reserves. This is making these loans more expensive for banks to fund. Furthermore, the new rules require a 15 percent minimum cash equity requirement to avoid a High Volatility designation, as well as max 80 percent LTV on the finished product. Specifically, the appreciated value of the land does not count towards the equity requirement, only the cash paid for the land or the original basis.
Global economy slows, the outlook on short-term rates
The recent free-fall of the Chinese financial markets created some of the worst volatility in our capital markets since 2009. This market volatility has scared investors, which resulted in a flight to safety, causing the 10-year treasury to drop below 2% for the first time since April of this year, compressing the treasury yield 20 basis points in the past week. The global economic slowdown will cause the Federal Reserve unanticipated aggravation leading up to their September 17th meeting. In light of this, the overwhelming market expectations that the Fed would start raising rates in September is becoming more of a 50/50 proposition.
The Dot Plot below was released in June and shows where each Fed member predicted federal funds rate to be. It is important to note that the plot is not official, but rather a tool that provides insight as to how the committee members felt at their June meeting.
New lending sources bridge the divide for needed financing
New lending sources have entered the market to fill the gap as both banks and agencies face the lending hurdles described above. “Stretch senior” lending programs provide bridge loans up to 75 percent to 80 percent of cost for value-add repositioning of existing assets. Specific groups with dry powder are focused on medical office, creative office and multifamily. Mezzanine and Preferred Equity providers are showing an appetite in coming in behind these bridge lenders and pushing leverage up to 90 percent of cost. In a bid-to-win business, these mezzanine and preferred equity groups are lowering their minimum amount to $1 million in some cases. Lastly, various bank lenders are aiming to fill the capacity left by the agencies by offering attractive long-term, fixed rate, non-recourse loans.
As we enter into the second half of 2015, it is important to note that there are disruptive market movements on the horizon. Clearly a change in interest rates will have a major impact, and with the regulatory environment in its current state, new lending sources will most likely continue to enter the market in order to bridge the gap left by banks and agencies. 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year.Read more
We had a great time at the Bisnow Los Angeles Capital Markets Summit and enjoyed the Bridge & Mezz update moderated by our very own, Shlomi Ronen.
Pictured above from left to right:
Shlomi Ronen, Managing Principal |Dekel Capital
Larry Grantham, MD | Calmwater Capital
Scott Shepherd EVP |OneWest Bank
Jeff Friedman Co-CEO |Mesa West Capital
In January 2014 Dekel Capital launched Dekel Strategic Investors (DSI), a JV-equity platform to provide equity capital to real estate developers engaging in multifamily, senior housing, student housing, and retail development projects. Over the past 18 months, the DSI has invested over $65 million across nine projects throughout the United States. DSI will continue to fill the recognized gap in the capital markets for equity investment between $3 and $10 million and is targeting a total of $100 million of JV-equity investment by year end.
Shlomi Ronen noted, “We continue see a window of opportunity in the multi-family and senior housing sector that is a result of the improving US economy and unmet tenant demand for quality housing in multiple primary and secondary markets throughout the US.”Read more
Max Friedman, SVP at Dekel Capital, was quoted in PrivcapRE’s article Mezz Debt’s Steady Advance in Risk by Christopher O’Dea on March 2, 2015.
Read the full quote below:
“More players are entering the mezz space, resulting in increased
competition to win deals,” says Max Friedman, senior vice president at
Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles–based merchant bank focused on
commercial private equity real estate and complex financing structures.
“GPs are expanding their lending to include projects that involve
construction or a heavy value-add component, while lenders and investors
are also going below traditional thresholds with respect to investment
Full article can be found at: www.privcapre.com/article/mezzanine-debt-risk/Read more
In recent months Dekel Capital has been actively arranging high-leverage loans and financing structures (up to 90% LTC, non-recourse) for clients acquiring value-add and core-plus deals nationwide. We’d like to use this opportunity to share with you some of the market intelligence we’ve gathered.
This financing can be sourced wholly from a single source, debt fund underwriting to a CLO execution, or by placing a senior loan plus mezz/pref equity. These capital sources are focused on business plan execution across all property types and are not constrained by bank leverage metrics, enabling them to fund loans to higher LTC’s.
In one recent assignment, Dekel Capital sourced 90% LTC non-recourse financing (Freddie Floating Rate Loan + Pref Equity) at a sub-6.0% blended rate, non-recourse and fixed for 5 years, for the acquisition of a 300-unit value-add multifamily deal on an underperforming class-B multifamily asset in Southern Florida.
New Capital in the Market: Mezz/Pref Equity for Core-Plus acquisitions
Furthermore, we recently spoke to a new fund that is focused deploying preferred equity or mezz debt (up to 90% LTC) for the acquisition of core-plus (8-11% leveraged IRR) projects in major metropolitan markets. This program is well suited for underperforming properties with either near term lease roll, above market vacancy, significant deferred maintenance, or repositioning. This capital is highly motivated to fund urban/in-fill retail acquisitions.
If you are working on a transaction that would benefit from these types of financings please to contact us for a confidential discussion.Read more
Max Friedman has joined Los Angeles-based real estate investment banking firm Dekel Capital as Senior Vice President where he will focus on arranging debt and equity for the acquisition, development, and refinancing of
commercial real estate assets nationally.
Friedman joins Dekel Capital after two-and-a-half years with Boston Private Bank and Trust Company. As Vice President in the Los Angeles office, Friedman originated commercial real estate loans for bank clients and was also responsible for managing a portfolio of Southern California commercial loans.
Previously, Friedman was an Assistant Vice President at Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm George Smith Partners, where he worked on structured finance assignments and loan sales. Friedman started his career as an Analyst in the Equity Derivatives department at Goldman Sachs in New York.
Friedman completed, with honors, his undergraduate studies at Tufts University and holds an MBA degree from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain and an MIA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in the City of New York.Read more
Los Angeles – Dekel Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment banking firm, has arranged an $17 million of permanent debt on behalf of Orange County, CA-based Core Capital Investments for a cash-out refinance of a coastal mobile home park set on approximately 15 acres located in Southern California, announced Dekel Managing Principal Shlomi Ronen.
The non-recourse senior debt, funded by a bank, has a thirty year term and is fixed for seven years with five years of interest only. “The biggest challenge of the deal was that the Sponsors had a single day to pay off their existing loan without having to incur a severe prepayment penalty, as a result we needed to have a flawless execution of the refinance.” says Ronen. Ronen adds, “Our strong relationship with the lender along with upfront underwriting of the asset enabled us to achieve the desired results.”Read more
‘Reversion’ of Units Rented Out in Downturn Is Fresh Sign of Housing Market’s Strength
By Conor Dougherty
Many condominium developers who rode out the real-estate downturn by renting out their units are reverting to for-sale housing, in another sign of the market’s continued recovery over the past year.
Take Amir Haber, a Los Angeles developer who opened his Universal Lofts project at precisely the wrong moment in late 2008, when the stock market was in free fall and home prices were declining at a double-digit pace. Instead of selling off the project’s 67 lofts that range from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet and sit across the highway from Universal Studios, Mr. Haber converted them into high-end rentals that range from about $3,800 to $5,500 a month.
Miami, above, is a market where developers are satisfying demand with new condominiums or ‘reversions’ from…Read more
Universal Lofts in Studio City is one of the apartment complexes to turn to the once popular practice of converting to condos. The trend is far below peak in 2007.
Apartment building owners in Los Angeles and throughout California are once again converting to condos, but not at the torrid pace of 2007, when condo conversion peaked before the Great Recession.
The work-live units at Universal Lofts in Studio City, across the 101 Freeway from Universal Studios, were built in 2008 as condominiums. But with the 2007-09 recession underway, developers turned them into apartments. Now the owners are back with plans for condos.
This complex is one of the first to return to the once popular trend, said Shlomi Ronen, managing principal at Dekel Capital, which arranged the refinancing deal. But this property surely won’t be the last, he said…Read more