Commercial mortgage rates are typically about 50 to 100 basis points (0.50% to 1.00%) higher than the prime, 30-year residential mortgage rate. For example, suppose you could refinance your personal residence on a 30-year, fixed-rate basis at 4.0% today. If you are an “A” quality borrower, you could therefore expect conventional commercial mortgage rates from commercial banks to be between 4.50% and 5.0%.
Commercial mortgage rates on SBA loans and USDA loans are typically 2% to 2.5% higher than the prime residential mortgage rate. Therefore, if the banks in town are quoting 4.0% on 30-year home loans, you will probably pay between 6.0% and 6.5% for an SBA loan or a USDA loan. The commercial mortgage rates of life companies and conduits – because the loans are typically quite large ($3MM+) – are a little better than the commercial mortgage rates of the typical bank. You can expect to pay 35 to 75 basis points (0.35% to 0.75%) over the prime, 30-year residential mortgage rate.
Will the interest rate on your commercial loan be fixed or floating? If the lender making your commercial loan is a life insurance company or a conduit (CMBS lender), you can expect a fixed rate for the entire term of the loan, typically either five years or ten years. If the lender making your commercial loan is a bank, you can expect the rate to be fixed for the first five years and then be recalculated to market. Once your commercial mortgage rate is recalculated, the rate will be fixed for another five years. A few money center banks make mini-perms (two to three year first mortgages) tied to LIBOR or prime.
Most commercial mortgage loans are amortized over 25 years, although if the property is older than 30 years old, the bank may require a 20-year amortization. After all, the building is not going to stand forever.
Most commercial loans have a term of either five years or ten years, at which point a balloon payment is due. SBA loans and USDA loans are typically fully-amortized over 25 years. Some conventional multifamily lenders will make 25 or 30-year fully-amortized commercial loans. The rate on such long-term apartment loans are typically recalculated every five years.
All commercial loans from life insurance companies and conduits (CMBS lenders) have a huge prepayment penalty called a defeasance fee. This is the one drawback of commercial loans from life insurance companies and conduits. I’ve heard of defeasance fees of over $1 million. Yikes! Fortunately the prepayment penalties of banks are far more reasonable, typically either around 3% or perhaps declining annually from 5% in year one to only 1% in year five.
There have been some major developments regarding commercial mortgage rates recently. Historically the commercial mortgage rates offered by conduits were only about 45 basis points (0.45%) higher than those offered by life companies. When China unexpectedly devaluated its currency a few months ago, the shock introduced enormous volatily into the credit markets. Commercial mortgage-backed securities are fixed rate instruments, and fixed rate instruments perform poorly in a rising interest rate environment. With the Fed threatening to raise interest rates, the demand for commercial mortgage-backed securities has plummeted. Commercial mortgage rates from conduits are gyrating wildly from week to week.
The end result is that conduits can no longer to lock in a borrower’s commercial mortgage rate. To make matters worse, the spread between the commercial mortgage rates of life companies and conduits has increased to 75 to 200 basis points (0.75% to 2.00%). At a time when life companies are offering commercial mortgage rates of 3.875% to 4.5%, conduits are quoting 5.25% to 6.5%. By historical standards, this is a huge difference.
The wise commercial-investment property buyer will therefore get commercial mortgage rate offers from a variety of different lenders. There are some major money center banks that are offering some very competitive commercial mortgage rates using portfolio programs (they intend to keep these loans on their own books). The best way to see these offers is to enter your commercial mortgage loan request into a commercial mortgage portal like C-Loans.com. Our portal is free (its paid for by the participating lenders).