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Edited by Christopher Simmons, senior news editor


BANK SURVEY FINDS STRONG BORROWER DEMAND AND TIGHTER CREDIT STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - April 7, 2003 /Send2Press/ -- Banks still offer a ready supply of capital to finance commercial real estate despite tighter credit conditions and expectations of uneven property sector performance, according to a newly-released survey. The third "Bridger Semi-Annual Survey of Lender's Commercial Real Estate Perspectives" was completed in March by Bridger Commercial Funding, and reflects the opinions of 150 senior loan officers at 119 banks throughout the U.S.

Over 85% of banks represented in the survey foresee their 2003 commercial real estate loan volume equal to or greater than their 2002 volume, and most of them are selectively building outstandings. Growth in commercial mortgage portfolios in 2003 is projected despite tightening credit standards reported over the past 120 days, with just over half (51%) the banks reporting "somewhat tighter" underwriting and 37% reporting unchanged standards.

Borrower demand also remains reasonably strong, according to the bankers surveyed. Almost 75% described borrower demand for commercial real estate loans as either "somewhat strong" or "moderate." With interest rates at historical lows, 83% of bankers surveyed reported "very strong" or "somewhat strong" borrower demand for long-term, fixed rate financing. Borrower demand for short-term floating rate debt seemed to ebb, with 63% of respondents reporting "moderate" or "somewhat strong" interest.

Fully two-thirds of bankers surveyed expect commercial real estate overall performance to remain strong over the next 12 months, reflecting moderate delinquency levels and limited foreclosures. However, opinions about sector performance varied. Multifamily property performance was projected as the strongest sector by 84% of respondents, with low to moderate delinquencies anticipated. Office, retail, and warehouse/industrial property performance should remain reasonably strong, approximately 90% of bankers observed, although they anticipate higher rates of delinquencies and foreclosures than in the multifamily sector. Finally, lodging continues to be viewed as the most vulnerable property sector, with over 80% of bankers surveyed expecting weak performance to continue through 2003.

"Our survey results suggest that bankers expect commercial real estate to continue to be a bright spot in their loan portfolios," said Peter Grabell, Senior Vice President of Bridger. Competition should remain keen among banks seeking to make new commercial real estate loans, notwithstanding current economic weakness," Grabell observed. "Bridger's survey results point to a current interest rate environment that could represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for borrowers to lock in long-term financing at unparalleled low rates. Banks and capital markets sources clearly have no shortage of money to lend," he stated.

The complete results of the survey can be found at: www.bridgerfunding.com.

Bridger Commercial Funding (www.BridgerFunding.com) is the leading commercial real estate capital markets resource serving the U.S. banking industry, with over 900 bank relationships nationwide. Bridger's innovative products and technology applications help banks maximize their risk-adjusted returns by accessing the secondary mortgage market. Bridger's commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loan origination program enables banks to boost financial performance by generating substantial fee income while retaining and enhancing borrower relationships. In addition, Bridger's BankXchange[tm] program optimizes banks' loan portfolio risk profiles and returns by facilitating purchases and sales of loan portfolios, whole loans and participations. Through a growing network of over 3,100 commercial loan officers nationwide, Bridger is the commercial real estate banking industry's premier provider of secondary market origination and trading solutions.

URL: www.bridgerfunding.com

Source of news: Bridger Commercial Funding



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