At a time when commercial real estate transactions have been down and banks in a dither over the impact rising interest rates are having on the value of their long-term assets, it might seem counterintuitive that CRE lending by them has been rising through April.
The Federal Reserve’s H.8 report, which shows assets and liabilities of U.S. commercial banks, is most clear. For commercial banks, CRE loans started the week ending April 5 at $2,883.9 billion. That was down from $2,897.2 billion at the end of March, which in turn had dropped from $2,898.1 billion on February’s close.
But things turned with the week ending April 12, with $2,885.6 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion. The following week, ending April 19, the category was up to $2,890.6, an addition of another $5 billion. And then in the week ending April 26, the jump was $14 billion to $2,904.6 billion. The total percentage increase over the month was 0.72%, or $20.7 billion.
The Fed’s report doesn’t take into account nonbank CRE lending.
Loans secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties went from $1,749.7 billion at the start of the month to $1,759.9 billion, an increase of $10.2 billion—just under half of the total.
Loans secured by multifamily properties went from $561.5 billion to $565.8 billion: another $4.3 billion.
Construction and land development loans started at $461.6 billion and ended at $467.4 billion, for $5.4 billion in growth.
The remaining $0.4 billion increase was loans secured by farmland.
The majority of CRE loans were held by domestically chartered commercial banks, starting at $2,778.9 billion and ending at $2,799.2 billion.
Focus on large domestically chartered commercial banks and the portion of CRE loans drops: $845.1 billion at the start of April and $846.0 billion at the end, meaning an increase of only $0.9 billion.
The bigger holdings, and growth, were to be found in the activities of small domestically chartered commercial banks. They began April with $1,933.8 billion in CRE loans. Last week, those holdings reached $1,953.2 billion—$19.4 billion in growth.
The curious part is how much bad news in banks and CRE there is. After the closings of Signature Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and First Republic Bank, more institutions like PacWest and Western Alliance are gaining scrutiny as many wonder if the bank failures are over. And then there are the concerns that interest rate cap prices are crushing CRE deals. Perhaps things aren’t quite as dire as they’ve seemed.