GSP Insights

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    The New Normal Goes On and On, Forever?

    Pascale’s Perspective

    March 13, 2019

    The “new normal” of low interest rates and central bank accommodations (quantitative easing, etc.) was supposed to end when the US and world economies got back on their feet. The “training wheels” could then come off. Recent developments continue to suggest that the training wheels may be on for a while. The Fed has been quite dovish lately with rate hikes on hold and announcements that the balance sheet reduction will end this year. Recent inflation data is very interesting: last weeks jobs report indicated the highest wage inflation in recent years. Today’s PPI report showed a 0.1% rise in producer’s prices and, very significantly, little or no inflation in the “pipeline” which predicts inflation over the next few months. The Fed watches wage inflation closely but will base their rate decisions on overall inflation, therefore, today’s report is dovish. Brexit and China trade agreement uncertainty is also weighing on markets, keeping yields low. The 10 year T hit a recent multi-month low at 2.59% yesterday and today is at 2.62%. Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners

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    Mezzanine Financing for Affordable Housing

    Hot Money

    March 13, 2019

    George Smith Partners identified a private commercial real estate finance company that provides non-recourse mezzanine financing for the acquisition, renovation and development of multifamily properties (with at least 20% of the units classified as affordable) located in the Western U.S. The financing is structured as a tax-exempt private activity housing bonds or 501(c)(3) bond. They can be used on mixed use 80/20 projects, for non-profit corporations, can be subordinate to HUD and Rural Development Loans and can be repaid from the sale of tax credits. With the ability to advance 90% of mezzanine loan programs range from $5,000,000 to $15,000,00. Interest-Only pricing for Acquisition / Rehab ranges from 8% – 10%, compounded monthly and Development ranges from 10% – 12%, compounded monthly.

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    The “Old Normal” Remains Elusive – ”Not so Fast Taking That Punchbowl”

    Pascale’s Perspective

    March 6, 2019

    The plan was simple: central banks injecting massive liquidity into the system to bring the world out of the post crash doldrums.  The Fed’s dual mandate of low inflation and high employment would eventually force its hand as low unemployment would lead to increased wages and inflation (aka: a hallmark of the “Old Normal” called the Phillips Curve which posits a “stable and inverse” relationship between inflation and unemployment). During the past few years, it seemed like this scenario was taking hold as the Fed was telegraphing multiple rate increases, the ECB was winding down their stimulus, wage inflation was finally stirring, etc. But, recent developments indicate a slowdown in growth (recent forecasts for China, the US and Europe all trending lower), low inflation (the Fed’s inflation gauge, PCE, remains below the 2.0% target and oil prices unable to sustain recent gains) and very low unemployment still not moving wages significantly, especially for the low wage earners. Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners

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    Homebuilding & Residential Development Equity

    Hot Money

    March 6, 2019

    GSP is working with an established equity source with a nationwide platform offering joint venture equity, preferred equity and mezzanine financing. Product types include for-sale homebuilding (single family, townhouses, condos), land development, build-to-rent and other residential related investments. The capital group is currently seeking opportunities with experienced builders and developers. Target investments range from $8M per deal and $25M programmatic joint ventures.

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    Interesting Testimony Today (Not “That” Testimony)

    Pascale’s Perspective

    February 27, 2019

    Was anyone watching the congressional hearing testimony from Fed Chair Powell or US Trade Representative Lighthizer? Powell highlights: Policy is “in the range of neutral”. Wow, the turnaround is complete on “where we are”. Remember early October when he spooked markets by saying we are “a long way from neutral”? Note that the Fed Funds rate was 2.25% at that time, speculation was the target neutral rate was somewhere between 3.25-3.50%, so the expectation was for at least 4 more hikes in the next year or two. Now, we are “there” which indicates the Fed feels no urgency to hike and is watching the data (unemployment and inflation). But today also showed a subtle shift in Fed concerns: financial market volatility, not usually a part of the stated Fed mandate. As Bloomberg pointed out, this concern for market stability is reminiscent of the “Greenspan put”. These developments are contributing to overall bullishness in Treasuries, the 10 year T is at 2.67%.  Meanwhile, across the hall, Trade Representative Lighthizer tamped down some of the recent anticipation of an imminent trade deal with China, which was heightened in recent weeks with the extension of the March 1 tarriff deadline and talk of a signing ceremony in the US soon. He indicated hurdles remain, so it may be a while. This “bad news” of course helps the contrarian bond market. Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners

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    Fixed Rate Capital for Land Loans

    Hot Money

    February 27, 2019

    GSP is working with a capital provider that will provide recourse fixed rate financing to 75% of cost (90% + on build to suits) including, acquisition, improvements, development, pre-development, discounted payoffs, bankruptcy exit, purchase of notes and cash-out. Fixed rate pricing starts at 9% for terms up to 1 year with extension options up to 3 years for Multifamily, Office, Industrial, Retail, Special-Use, Entitled Land and Construction. Loan sizes range from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 for transactions located in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington.

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    Markets Usually Don’t Like Uncertainty, But Today They Do

    Pascale’s Perspective

    February 20, 2019

    The old maxim about financial market aversion to uncertainty is well known. However, today’s unusually newsworthy release of Fed minutes from January saw markets cheering uncertainty. It seems that the Fed’s “dot plot” indicating two planned rate hikes in 2019 is by no means set in stone (note that previous dot plots indicated three rate hikes in 2019). As I discussed last month, the futures market has been skeptical of the dot plots. That predictive market has been indicating a probability of zero hikes in 2019. Today’s Fed minutes release put the matter to rest (for now) as a majority of the participants are uncertain about any future rate hikes this year. The statement cited an uncertain atmosphere of risks to economic growth and very little concern about inflation. Of course there is a contrarian aspect to all of this: stocks and bonds rallied based on a more pessimistic outlook on the economy. Very significantly, the Fed addressed the “elephant in the room”, their huge balance sheet and its ongoing program to reduce holdings by selling bonds as they mature. Today’s minutes also showed participants broadly agreeing to announce a plan to stop balance sheet reduction later this year. This is a paradigm shift. It seems the Fed is planning on retaining a very large balance sheet on a near permanent basis. All of this helped drive the 10 year T yield down to 2.64%. With fixed rate loan spreads for agency, CMBS, LifeCo, etc ranging from about 130-200 depending on property metrics and leverage, all in rates range from 4.00% to 4.60% approximately. Again, its not too late to lock in historically low fixed rate financing. Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners

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    5.5% Fixed Rate Bridge Starting at $3mm to 80% LTC Funding Below Break-Even Coverage

    Hot Money

    February 20, 2019

    George Smith Partners is placing non-recourse financing for debt sponsors nationwide on all major property types. With transactions sized from $3 million to $20 million for fixed rate bridge w/sub 1.0 cash flow, pricing starts at 5.50% for terms up to five years with flexible yield maintenance and up to 80% of cost. Pricing for floating rate transactions start at LIBOR + 325. Transactions go up to $50 million with terms up to five years and up to 85% of cost.

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    Nationwide Non-Recourse Bridge Financing with No Prepayment Penalties

    Hot Money

    February 13, 2019

    George Smith Partners is placing non-recourse financing for reposition transactions from $3,000,000 to $15,000,000 on light to heavy value-added properties nationwide. This institutional lender will finance Industrial, Retail, Office, Multifamily, Self-Storage, Student Housing and Medical Office. Lender will fund up to 80% of purchase and 100% of good news dollars with terms up to three years for transitional assets with no prepayment penalties and no LIBOR cap required.

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    Deadlines Loom, Securitization Markets In Gear

    Pascale’s Perspective

    February 6, 2019

    The 10 year Treasury yield has settled into a range of about 2.65-2.75% in recent weeks as the “Goldilocks” outlook is in vogue: not too hot, not too cold: the economy is strong with potential headwinds and slowing growth with little inflation. With the shutdown now over (for now), Washington deadlines are in the spotlight: February 15 to pass another funding bill, March 1 to finalize a trade agreement with China (or big tariffs ensue), and very important is the March 1 reinstatement of the debt ceiling. This means that the government will have a few months of financial manipulation before defaulting on US Treasury debt. Now comes word that the debt ceiling extension may be rolled into the government funding talks. CMBS/CLO: Floating rate securitizations are going very well after a post crash record 2018 of issuance, some originators are cutting spreads accordingly. The first 2019 CMBS securitizations are pricing soon, but pricing talk is optimistic, about 5 bps inside of the final 2018 pools. Stay tuned.  By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners

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    Non-Recourse Bridge Financing 85% of Cost

    Hot Money

    February 6, 2019

    George Smith Partners is placing non-recourse bridge debt, mezzanine debt, and preferred equity to 85% of cost through a national portfolio lender funding transactions from $2,000,000 to $15,000,000. The Capital Provider offers flexible loan structures with interest only terms between 1 to 5 years and extension options. Floating rate pricing starts from LIBOR + 325. Lender has a strong appetite for Multifamily, Office, Industrial, Retail and Hospitality properties located in primary, secondary and tertiary markets.

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    “Patience” is a Virtue

    Pascale’s Perspective

    January 30, 2019

    The Fed’s unanimous decision to not raise rates today and subsequent comments from Fed Chair Powell set markets soaring. The “contrarian” dynamic is alive and well: The Fed delivered “bad” news (the case for raising rates has “weakened” due to global growth concerns such as Brexit, China’s economic slowdown, etc.) and markets cheered as that will keep rates from rising. Interestingly, the Fed asserted its independence, denying they are bowing to political pressure and insisting these moves are “data dependent”. An unprecedented separate statement on the balance sheet seemed to be a nod to the market concern that “quantitative tightening” (the gradual selloff of Fed assets such as Treasuries and Mortgage Securities) is not on “autopilot” but is also data dependent. Futures markets now predict no new rate increases this year and even a rate decrease for next year. The 10 year yield dropped to 2.67%, nearing its recent bottom of 2.56%….Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners