Until recently, the commercial real estate market has made a sluggish recovery from the nation’s economic recession. The good news is that property values, rental rates and occupancy rates are improving, and commercial real estate appears to be gaining critical traction.
Lower interest rates have started to help create larger demand from borrowers — who are already feeling some effects of the improving real estate market — which is giving the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market some rejuvenation. In fact, 2012 saw CMBS issuance reach a post-recession high of $48.18 billion — a number that is expected to rise in 2013 and beyond.
“I am very optimistic about the CMBS business in 2013. I think volumes will grow substantially,” says Anthony Orso, CEO of Cantor Commercial Real Estate (CCRE). “You will continue to see high-quality loans, and you will see more capital raised for the B-piece community.”
Orso is speaking from professional experience. The New York-based real estate finance company, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., originated nearly $5 billion in securities throughout 2012. With help from Cantor Fitzgerald, CCRE sold to more than 150 bond investors last year. Orso only expects those figures to grow — confidence that he shares with top commercial real estate (CRE) financers, like Omega Commercial Finance Corporation (www.omegapublic.com).
“Omega uses a principle based on marrying affordable financing with available capital,” says Jon S. Cummings IV, president of Omega Commercial Finance Corp. “One of the advantages of traditional CMBS lenders is the ability to offer competitive rates against banks, agency lenders and insurance companies. Omega is strategically positioned to accommodate this growing market.”
As a publicly traded financial holding company (OTCQB: OCFN), Omega just acquired minority stake in VFG Securities Inc., a full-service broker dealer with $180 million in Assets Under Management for the purpose of creating its own internal structured financing arm. This acquisition effectively gives Omega the capacity to raise in-house capital to originate their CRE loans. It also sweetens the pot for investors looking for new sources of future earnings.