November 10, 2023
As multifamily investors, it’s important to keep a close eye on interest rates, which can significantly impact our investments. Lately, experts from top real estate firms like CBRE and investment groups like BlackRock have shared their insights, and their message is clear: be ready for interest rates to stay high for quite some time.
Jean Boivin from BlackRock suggests that long-term borrowing costs, like the rates for 10-year loans, may remain high for several years. Despite a recent drop to 4.57%, this rate is expected to rise, potentially reaching around 5.5% over the next five years. This number fits the bigger picture of the economy and what investors expect for taking on the risk of lending money for a long time.
The recent fall in the 10-year loan rate came after two main events: the Federal Reserve paused on increasing rates, and the Treasury showed signs of slowing down its borrowing. Many people thought this meant low rates would last, but that might be too optimistic. The Federal Reserve still aims to bring inflation down to 2%, but this may be challenging. Inflation might drop for now but then go up again, possibly staying around 3% for a while.
Even though some people expect the Federal Reserve to start lowering rates by mid-2024, BlackRock believes it might not happen until the end of that year or even later. There are a few reasons for this: older populations are putting pressure on the workforce, international tensions are making trade tougher, and energy prices are going up.
If the 10-year loan rates stay around 5%, the U.S. would have to spend a big part of its budget just to pay off its debts. This is a heavy load to carry and could affect the country’s finances deeply.
In the commercial real estate world, there’s a lot of worry about how easy it will be to get loans. Banks are being more careful about who they lend to, making it harder to get the money needed for big projects. And as banks pull back, other lenders are stepping in to fill the gap, which has caught the attention of government regulators.
Looking at the banking industry itself, we’re seeing big and small banks behave differently. Steven Blitz, an economist from TS Lombard, tells us that big banks are seeing more money in their accounts and are focusing more on giving out loans. Small banks, however, are also loaning more but are at risk because they hold a lot of low-interest U.S. Treasury bonds, which could be a problem if people suddenly want to withdraw their deposits.
For those of us investing in multifamily properties, these economic trends mean we should be careful. With higher loan costs likely to stick around, changes in how banks lend money, and other economic challenges, it's key to stay alert and flexible with our investment plans. Keeping up with the latest news and being ready to adjust will help us navigate these uncertain times.
In conclusion, while we may sometimes hear predictions of lower interest rates, the general expectation from industry leaders is that we should prepare for higher rates that could last longer than we’d like. By staying informed and ready to adapt, multifamily investors can face these challenges head-on and find opportunities in a tough market.