Returns on investments in commercial real estate have become more complex to achieve as a result of rising interest rates, rising construction costs, and rising property values. Real estate corporations invest in commercial real estate debt to equity to generate reliable and consistent profits.
Debt financing has traditionally to get primarily sourced from banks and other traditional sources of finance, such as insurance firms or pension funds. However, the amount, nature, and level of lending these institutions can do have been restricted as of increased regulation following the Great Recession, making them more cautious.
Because of this, commercial loans frequently fall short of what equity partners currently require. Commercial banks have been lowering their exposure to multifamily real estate, and they typically don’t lend more than 65% of the total value of the property. The middle of what gets referred to as the capital stack—the space between bank funding and the owner’s or developer’s funding—leaves profitable openings for investors to fill.
Investors give money to real estate owners, developers, or deal-sponsoring firms to invest in real estate debt. Investors receive a predetermined return based on the amount invested and the interest rate, which gets secured by the property. The debt secured by real estate is a desirable investment for many reasons. Investors can choose from various risk profiles, from low-risk loans backed by reliable Class A properties to higher-yield opportunistic tactics like building loans.
Debt investments typically last between six months and two years. It might have a shorter holding period than equity investments, which can be advantageous for investors who don’t want to tie up assets for an extended time. Additionally, it is a reliable fixed-income investment that generates cash income for yield-seeking investors.
Due to equity being in the first loss position, real estate debt investments are also less risky. The debt investment is still safe if the value of a property drops by 10%, but the equity investor takes the weight of the loss. Less risk can also equate to lower rewards because returns get constrained by the loan’s interest rate.
Examining the capital stack is the simplest method to comprehend how commercial real estate projects get financed, whether with equity or debt. It specifies who is entitled to the earnings and gains a property makes during its holding period and after it gets sold.
The riskiest debt financing is at the top of the capital stack, and the safest is at the bottom. The bottom position gets fully repaid first when a property gets sold or refinanced since each level of capital has priority over everything stacked above it. Losses are accrued from the top down if no resources are there to pay down any debt.
Investors must ultimately decide whether they’re prepared to give up to earn higher yields in favor of a safer option. When compared favorably to predicted equity returns, commercial real estate debt investments can produce returns thanks to the characteristics and advantages of debt risk.