How the Recent Fed Rate Hike Affects Commercial Real Estate Investing

Terrydale Capital

Aug 2, 2023 11 Min read

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The United States' Federal Reserve recently announced a significant interest rate hike in response to changing economic conditions. As a commercial real estate investor, it is essential to understand the implications of this move, as it can have far-reaching effects on the real estate market. In this blog, we will explore what the Fed rate hike means, its potential implications, and how it might impact your investment strategies in the commercial real estate sector.

What is a Fed Rate Hike?

The Federal Reserve, often referred to as the Fed, is the central banking system of the United States. One of its primary responsibilities is to control the country's monetary policy to achieve economic stability and sustainable growth. One of the tools it uses for this purpose is the federal funds rate, the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight.

Fed rate hike occurs when the Federal Reserve increases the federal funds rate. This move is often implemented to counteract inflation, control economic expansion, or normalize interest rates during a period of sustained growth.

The Recent Fed Rate Hike:

In our current economic landscape, inflation has been on the rise, prompting the Federal Reserve to respond with monetary policy adjustments. With this in mind, the Fed recently decided to raise its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points putting the range at between 5.25% and 5.50% - the highest it has been in 22 years. This move signals a clear shift from the accommodative monetary policy stance of the past to a more restrictive one.

Implications for Commercial Real Estate Investors:

Increased Borrowing Costs:

As the Fed raises interest rates, the cost of borrowing for commercial real estate investors will likely increase. Traditional commercial loans, such as those for acquiring properties or funding development projects, will become more expensive, potentially impacting the affordability of new investments. Investors need to carefully assess their financing options and factor in the higher interest expenses when making investment decisions.

Capitalization Rates and Property Valuations:

Commercial real estate values are closely linked to capitalization rates (cap rates), which are inversely related to interest rates. As interest rates rise, cap rates tend to increase as well, leading to potential downward pressure on property valuations. Property owners may see a decrease in the value of their assets, impacting potential returns on investment.

Market Demand and Rental Rates:

A Fed rate hike can influence overall economic activity, including job growth and consumer spending. As borrowing costs rise, businesses may face higher expenses, which could lead to reduced demand for commercial real estate spaces. Additionally, tenants may become more price-sensitive, limiting landlords' ability to raise rental rates, and potentially affecting cash flow projections.

Investment Strategies:

Commercial real estate investors need to adapt their strategies in response to changing interest rates and market conditions. Investors may turn to alternative financing options, such as private equity or mezzanine debt, to mitigate the impact of higher borrowing costs. Additionally, focusing on property types and locations with stable demand and potential for rental growth may help navigate a potentially more challenging market.

How Investors Can Work Around These Challenges

Despite the Fed rate hike, all is not doom and gloom for commercial real estate investors as of now. While borrowing costs are going up for many lenders, it also forces the lender landscape for alternative investment vehicles to become more competitive in their lending parameters. 

With these alternative lending vehicles, savvy investors can explore to finance their investment endeavors effectively. These options offer distinct advantages and can be instrumental in navigating the changing economic landscape.

Private Equity:

Private equity firms and investment groups can provide capital for commercial real estate projects. Partnering with private equity investors allows commercial real estate developers to access funds without solely relying on bank loans. In such arrangements, the private equity firm typically takes an ownership stake in the project, and profits are shared based on predetermined terms. This form of financing can be particularly useful for large-scale projects and can help spread the risk among multiple stakeholders.

Mezzanine Debt:

Mezzanine debt is a hybrid form of financing that fills the gap between a property's existing debt and the equity contributed by the investor. Mezzanine loans are secured by the property's ownership interests rather than the property itself, making them riskier for lenders and, consequently, carrying higher interest rates. While the cost of mezzanine debt may be higher than conventional financing, it can be a valuable option when traditional lenders are reluctant to lend due to rising interest rates or other market factors.

Real Estate Crowdfunding:

Crowdfunding platforms have emerged as a popular way for commercial real estate investors to pool funds from a large number of investors to finance projects. Through real estate crowdfunding, investors can participate in projects with relatively lower investment amounts, reducing their exposure to individual properties. This diversification can be especially beneficial in uncertain economic climates. However, investors should thoroughly research and vet crowdfunding platforms to ensure they comply with regulations and offer credible investment opportunities.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs):

REITs are publicly traded companies that own, operate, or finance income-generating real estate. Investors can buy shares of REITs on stock exchanges, providing an opportunity to invest in a diversified portfolio of commercial properties. REITs offer liquidity, as shares can be bought and sold easily, and they often distribute a significant portion of their profits as dividends to shareholders. This vehicle provides a more passive investment option, making it suitable for those looking for exposure to the commercial real estate market without direct ownership.

Seller Financing:

In a seller financing arrangement, the property owner acts as the lender and provides the financing to the buyer. This can be an attractive option for commercial real estate investors when traditional lenders become more conservative with their lending practices. Seller financing may offer more flexible terms and lower upfront costs, making it an accessible financing alternative. However, investors should conduct thorough due diligence to assess the seller's financial standing and the terms of the financing agreement.


The recent Fed rate hike reflects the central bank's response to the evolving economic landscape, particularly rising inflation. As a commercial real estate investor, it is crucial to understand the implications of this monetary policy shift on your investment decisions. With the rate hike requiring careful evaluation and adaptation of strategies, there is no better partner to have than Terrydale Capital. Not only does our team hold the collective expertise to help guide investors through the murky waters, we also boast a variety of industry connections and access to the most competitive alternative financing options on the market. Contact us today.

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