Commercial mortgage rates are typically about 75 to 150 basis points (0.75% to 1.50%) higher than the prime, 30-year residential mortgage rate. For example, suppose you could refinance your personal residence on a 30-year basis at 4.0% today. If you are an “A” quality borrower, you could therefore expect conventional commercial mortgage rates from commercial banks to be between 4.75% and 5.5%.
Commercial mortgage rates on SBA loans and USDA loans are typically 2% to 2.5% higher than the prime residential mortgage rate. Therefore, if the banks in town are quoting 4.0% on 30-year home loans, you will probably pay between 6.0% and 6.5% for an SBA loan or a USDA loan. The commercial mortgage rates of life companies and conduits – because the loans are typically quite large ($3MM+) – are a little better than the commercial mortgage rates of the typical bank. You can expect to pay 35 to 75 basis points (0.35% to 0.75%) over the prime, 30-year residential mortgage rate.
Will the interest rate on your commercial loan be fixed or floating? If the lender making your commercial loan is a life insurance company or a conduit (CMBS lender), you can expect a fixed rate for the entire term of the loan, typically either five years or ten years. If the lender making your commercial loan is a bank, you can expect the rate to be fixed for the first five years and then be recalculated to market. Once your commercial mortgage rate is recalculated, the rate will be fixed for another five years. A few money center banks make mini-perms (two to three year first mortgages) tied to LIBOR or prime.
Most commercial mortgage loans are amortized over 25 years, although if the property is older than 30 years old, the bank may require a 20-year amortization. After all, the building is not going to stand forever.
Most commercial loans have a term of either five years or ten years, at which point a balloon payment is due. SBA loans and USDA loans are typically fully-amortized over 25 years. Some conventional multifamily lenders will make 25 or 30-year fully-amortized commercial loans. The rate on such long-term apartment loans are typically recalculated every five years.
All commercial loans from life insurance companies and conduits (CMBS lenders) have a huge prepayment penalty called a defeasance fee. This is the one drawback of commercial loans from life insurance companies and conduits. I’ve heard of defeasance fees of over $1 million. Yikes! Fortunately the prepayment penalties of banks are far more reasonable, typically either around 3% or perhaps declining annually from 5% in year one to only 1% in year five.