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Susan Branscome featured in REBusiness Online and Heartland Real Estate Business Magazine

Strong Fundamentals Are in Place for Cincinnati’s Multifamily Market

The strength of the national multifamily market has been driven by a number of factors, especially job and wage growth.  Nationally, annual job growth has been 1.5 percent and annual wage growth has been 2.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another factor affecting the multifamily market is homeownership. In the United States, homeownership reached 65 percent in 2008, dropped to 60 percent in 2015 and rebounded to 65 percent at the end of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the last 10 years, the millennial population has primarily rented housing and baby boomers have been downsizing to apartments or condos.  These trends have contributed to the multifamily market’s strength. We see the millennial sector housing choices changing with much of the generation getting married and starting families.

Last year represented the third-best year in history for multifamily property sales volume, according to Dave Lockard, senior vice president in the multifamily brokerage division of CBRE.

Another factor affecting multifamily markets is a slowdown in new construction. Higher construction costs and more conservative commercial bank construction financing have led to fewer developments. The cost of materials and labor has increased, making it more difficult to justify development.

Banks have experienced more lending regulation, causing apartment developers to place more equity in projects and leading to lower returns for developers. Also, short-term and long-term interest rates have increased, making the cost of borrowing higher. These increases will lead to higher capitalization rates and lower values, contributing to fewer feasible projects.

Last year, NorthMarq Capital arranged a $5.6 million loan for the refinancing of North Park Townhomes in Cincinnati. The 122-unit property is located at 300 Cardinal Drive.

Last year, NorthMarq Capital arranged a $5.6 million loan for the refinancing of North Park Townhomes in Cincinnati. The 122-unit property is located at 300 Cardinal Drive.

The peak of new construction in the United States was March 2017 when nearly 50,000 units delivered. In contrast, the monthly average for the fourth quarter of 2017 was 28,700 units.

Long-term permanent financing is plentiful with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae getting their share of the originations market. Life insurance companies also favor multifamily as a property type upon which to lend. Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios range between 65 to 80 percent, with lower LTV transactions commanding the best interest rates, usually by life insurance companies.

Bridge lenders prefer multifamily as well, but unless a property is a value-add, turnaround-type property, bridge lenders are not the best lender choice. CMBS lenders have difficulty competing with these lenders for long-term loan opportunities in the multifamily space.

Local factors

Cincinnati, with a population of 2.2 million and an average household income of $80,000, has been considered a strong Midwestern market in which to develop and invest in multifamily properties. Cincinnati is in the top 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, with nine Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city including Kroger, Macy’s, Procter & Gamble and Fifth Third Bank.

Cincinnati’s unemployment rate sits at 3.7 percent, in comparison with Ohio’s rate of 4.8 percent and the nation’s rate of 4.1 percent. According to Lockard, apartment vacancies have remained in the 6 percent range with a slight uptick of about 10 basis points during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Average annual rental growth in Cincinnati since 2010 has been 4.3 percent. Rents are approximately $1 per square foot for suburban properties and $1.61 per square foot for the central business district (CBD). The Class B market, which tends to house more workforce residents, has been very strong and there is a lack of available housing in this sector in Cincinnati with remarkable demand.

Capitalization rates for Class A properties are currently in the 5 to 5.75 percent range with Class B cap rates in the 5.5 to 6.25 percent range. Predictions are that cap rates will not change much this year, although we should witness an increase in cap rates at some point with sustained higher interest rates.

There are a number of other factors besides interest rates that are affecting cap rates, including the strength of the market, potential rental growth and returns on alternative investments.

The Cincinnati CBD has enjoyed strong occupancies and rental increases with some high-profile projects coming online, including North American Properties’ Encore Apartments on Sycamore Street and Rookwood Properties’/North American Properties’ to-be-built, 18-story luxury tower anchored by a Kroger.

Development outlook 

Flaherty & Collins Properties is developing two new multifamily projects, Fourth & Race in downtown Cincinnati and Riverhaus in northern Kentucky. The demand for rental housing downtown appears to remain strong, leading to the conclusion that these properties will lease up quickly at pro forma rents.

Cincinnati is expected to experience a lower level of multifamily property sales volume this year based upon the fact that there are fewer loan maturities. Although vacancies are expected to increase as much as 1 percent, Cincinnati will remain a healthy market.

The development pipeline has leveled off with fewer projects, which makes sense based upon the earlier cited factors. Rental increases for 2018 are expected to be 2.5 to 3 percent, according to Lockard. All in all, Cincinnati will continue experiencing a strong multifamily market.

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Takeaways from the 2018 Commercial Real Estate Finance (CREF) Conference

All lenders, including life insurance companies have large 2018 commercial loan production budgets and will be aggressively lending this year. Lower leverage deals—50-65 percent LTV loans—command lower spreads: as low as 105-120 bps above the Treasury yields. Before the CREF conference spreads had not declined with the treasury rise yet after the conference— with evidence of enhanced competition for fewer  available deals— spreads are expected to drop, perhaps as much as 10 to 15 basis points. Check out Cincinnati Managing Director Susan Branscome’s thoughts on recourse, property types, construction-to-perm loans, interest rates and more following this year’s conference.

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Susan Branscome featured in REjournals: Has there ever been a better time for CRE in Cincinnati?

Susan Branscome has worked in the commercial real estate industry in Cincinnati for more than three decades. Never has she seen the city as busy at it is today when it comes to new commercial sales, leases and developments.

Branscome, senior vice president and managing director of the Cincinnati office of NorthMarq Capital, said that it isn’t just one commercial sector in the city that’s booming, either. Industrial, multifamily, office and retail are all seeing an increase in sales and leases today.

“It’s probably been one of the best times for Cincinnati in terms of all the markets so close to being in balance as far as demand and supply goes,” Branscome said. “Vacancies are down. Rents are increasing in all the sectors. I’ve been in this market for a long time. This is maybe the best we’ve ever seen Cincinnati in terms of the commercial real estate market.”

Branscome says banks and commercial lenders have played a part in the positive supply-and-demand balance that Cincinnati is now experiencing. She said that banks have become more conservative when it comes to lending money for new commercial developments.

For new apartment buildings, for instance, the highest loan-to-value ratio developers can have and still expect to qualify for commercial financing is in the 70 percent to 75 percent range, Branscome said.

Thanks in part to this conservatism, the supply of new apartments in the Cincinnati area has not outpaced the demand for these units. Unlike other markets in the Midwest and across the country, there are few worries here that the multifamily market is overbuilt.

This same scenario is being played out in the other commercial markets in the Cincinnati market, too, helping to keep that demand-supply balance at a healthy level.

This isn’t to say that apartment buildings here are filling as quickly as they were last year or the year before. Branscome said that the pace of absorption and rent increases has slowed. With all the new apartment projects still coming online, the Cincinnati area might see some softness in rents in the highest end of the multifamily market, she said.

The positive for this market, though, is the diversity of renters. Branscome said that it’s not just Millennials who are renting apartments in the center of Cincinnati, but tenants of all ages.

“We thought it would always be Millennials,” Branscome said. “But we are also seeing Baby Boomers who don’t want to own anymore. We are seeing so much more activity downtown with housing.”

An example of this? The new $52 million, 17-story Encore Urban Living from NorthPointe Group and North American Properties. This building is an example of the kind of high-end apartment projects that are still rising in the Cincinnati market.

The multifamily market, though, isn’t the only sector thriving in Cincinnati. The industrial market here is busy, too. Amazon has helped with its decision to make Cincinnati one of its major hubs. The online retail giant is expected to bring 1,000 new jobs to the Cincinnati market.

Branscome pointed to the coordinated efforts of a host of civic organizations as one reason why Cincinnati’s commercial real estate market is performing so well. She said that the local chamber of commerce, the port authority and other organizations have come together to offer incentives and regulations that make it easier for developers to work in the Cincinnati market.

Cincinnati is also home to several large companies, such as Kroger, Fifth Third Bank and GE. GE, in fact, recently made a major investment in the city, building a new office building about 18 months ago here and bringing 2,000 jobs to the center of Cincinnati.

The opening of the $80 million interchange at Martin Luther King Drive and Interstate-71 has made an impact on the Cincinnati commercial real estate market, too, Branscome said. This public project will spur more growth in the neighborhood known as Pill Hill.

“We are already seeing plans for new hotels and office buildings near that new interchange,” Branscome said.

The Cincinnati commercial real estate market is so strong, it is inspiring out-of-town developers to move into the area, Branscome said. Several developers that normally focus on markets such as Columbus and Indianapolis are now taking on projects in Cincinnati, she said. This is because of the high demand for new commercial buildings here and the ease of developing in this area, Branscome said.

“They are seeing Cincinnati as a vibrant market today,” Branscome said.

This article originally appeared in the Finance section of the September issue of REjournals. Read the full story here.

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Retail’s transitional period: how to keep up with Amazon

Susan Branscome, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Cincinnati regional office, authored an article titled “Retail’s transitional period: how to keep up with Amazon,” that was featured in the August 2017 edition of Heartland Real Estate Business. In the article, Branscome discusses factors such as Millennials becoming the country’s largest buying group, lender perceptions around retail asset classes and how the market will evolve going forward. Read the full story here.

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Local Office Overview

Click image to download PDF

Click image to download PDF

The experienced professionals of the Cincinnati office have originated many loans with loyal borrowers through doing several things very well: understanding borrowers’ financing goals; assuring the loans are accurately and thoroughly presented to lenders; making sure loans are approved and closed according to the loan applications. We have numerous correspondent relationships with lenders—many are exclusive. These lenders offer the best loan terms available in the marketplace and assure they originate repeat business with customers. Our relationships and our ability to expertly close loans are critical to our success. We take our responsibility to clients seriously and deliver results through absolute dedication to streamlining the financing process. Download this two-page flyer to learn more about the Cincinnati office.

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Susan Branscome discusses opportunities and challenges in tertiary markets

Susan Branscome joined four other NorthMarq Capital producers to discuss and answer questions regarding tertiary and secondary markets. In her responses she focused on challenges, such as community size, and opportunities, such as agencies and commercial banks representing a route to do more business with CMBS/conduit lenders at higher leverage levels for borrowers.  Read Susan’s responses below.

1. What property type/niche are seeing/hearing about in your market? What conditions make this possible?
Within tertiary markets, lenders tend to be most comfortable with apartment and retail properties. Industrial and office are not as popular in terms of property types in tertiary markets. Industrial properties are usually located in established industrial locations and require access to an interstate system, which many smaller towns do not possess. With office properties, growth and success depend upon a strong local economy and job growth, neither of which tertiary markets often have. Apartment and retail properties are supported more by consumers rather than commercial activity, making them preferable property types to lenders in tertiary markets. These retail and apartment properties must have exhibited strong historical income and must be well located. Tertiary markets, which have several employers and not one dominant employer, are preferred by lenders.

2. What type of borrowers/lenders are in your market? For example; is it primarily agency or are bank and life companies also part of the mix? Why?
In tertiary markets we typically see local borrowers versus national borrowers electing to develop and own properties in smaller markets. These borrowers know their markets and are comfortable with the risk of these investments. Some life companies will choose not to lend in tertiary markets given the default risk is higher with the smaller population levels, yet many life companies see tertiary markets as a place to obtain lower leverage loans and higher interest rates. So long as banks have a presence in these smaller markets or the market is in their lending “footprint”, they will likely consider lending in these communities. Both agencies, Freddie Mac and Fannie, will consider lending in tertiary markets although Fannie seems to have a bigger appetite for smaller communities.

3. What are the unique challenges facing your market?
Tertiary markets face the challenge of being so small it might be difficult to attract a lender which will consider a 75 percent loan-to-value loan. Borrowers which have loan balances at this level might find it difficult to pay off the loan without additional capital placed towards the transaction. Tertiary markets have the unique challenge of based upon its community size, there is risk of employers and companies leaving for larger cities causing population decrease.

4. What are the unique opportunities present in your market?
Lenders are not as enthused about lending in a smaller market versus a larger market. CMBS lenders are more likely to have fewer issues with the community size than life companies. Agencies and commercial banks therefore present an opportunity to do more business with CMBS/conduit lenders at higher leverage levels for borrowers.

Read the full story here.

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NorthMarq Capital’s Daniel Weber among 165 new designees to receive their CCIM pin

Daniel Weber

Daniel Weber

Daniel Weber, investment analyst at NorthMarq Capital’s Cincinnati regional office, received his CCIM pin during the Spring 2017 CCIM pinning ceremony on April 4. The swearing in of the 165 new designees (five from Ohio) was performed by 2017 Institute President Robin Webb. The ceremony was part of CCIM Institute’s Midyear Governance Meetings at the Fairmont in Chicago.

The CCIM designation is considered the most rigorous commercial real estate professional designation to obtain due to extensive coursework, a peer-reviewed commercial portfolio and a final comprehensive exam lasting six hours. While five years is the average time to complete the CCIM designation requirements, Weber was able to meet requirements in two years, thanks to holding an MBA with a certificate in real estate that made him eligible for a FastTrack program.

“Obtaining the CCIM designation is an important way for me to enhance my credibility among my peers and among clients in my industry,” said Weber. “The CCIM designation represents proven expertise in financial, market and investment analysis/negotiation. I am confident that the knowledge gained while pursuing the designation will allow me to provide comprehensive and valuable advice to clients, which is critical to allowing them to meet their investment objectives.”

Weber has a proven understanding of the entire life cycle of an investment, from refinancing to capital improvements to disposition. As a result of the CCIM Designation, he is able to apply key investor decision-making analyses to optimize investment returns, effectively forecast investment performance by quantifying real estate risk, leverage CCIM analytical tools to improve decision making, and access an exclusive and powerful network of over 13,000 other CCIM members.

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Susan Branscome featured in National Real Estate Investor

NREISusan Branscome was featured in an article by National Real Estate Investor titled “Tertiary Markets See Ebb and Flow of Debt Capital.” The article investigates the financing climate of tertiary markets and looks at the various options available to borrowers. Read the article here.

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Susan Branscome recognized by Real Estate Forum as 2016 Woman of Influence

REForum screenshot_thumbSusan Branscome, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Cincinnati office, was featured in the Women of Influence section of Real Estate Forum’s July/August edition. Groundbreaking, glass-ceiling shattering and forces of nature is how the publication described recipients, who were specifically chosen based on their contribution to company, industry and community.

As a commercial mortgage banking pioneer, leader, entrepreneur, role model and industry trailblazer, Branscome deservedly earned a place among the industry’s top women. Her career is marked by firsts.  She is counted as one of only two women in the United States to launch a mortgage banking firm; was the first woman officer within the commercial real estate division of Bank One in Dayton, Ohio; was the first woman officer in Carillon Advisors’ company history; and was the first woman—and is one of the only two women—to sit on the board and executive committee of Q10 Capital LLC. She also spends a considerable amount of time giving back to her community through volunteering for the YWCA Boys Hope Girls Hope.

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Susan Branscome featured in Real Estate Journal

Susan Branscome

Susan Branscome

Susan Branscome authored a guest post for the Real Estate Journal titled “Borrowers: Important considerations for debt capital decisions in 2015 and 2016.” Read the article here.

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NorthMarq Capital announces Noah Juran as vice president of its Cincinnati regional office

CINCINNATI (June 2, 2015) – Noah D. Juran has joined the Cincinnati regional office of NorthMarq Capital as vice president and producer. At NorthMarq, Juran will focus on all types of financing including life insurance lending, CMBS/conduit lending, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and bank loans. With his addition, the three producers in the Cincinnati and Louisville offices have experience in banking, mortgage banking and life company financing — a rare combination in the commercial real estate industry.

Most recently, Juran served as associate director of commercial real estate loan operations at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation. Before this, he held positions for nine years at US Bank and Summit Investment Partners, now Ameritas.

“We are excited to have Noah join our team. He brings experience as a successful mortgage banker and solid lending experience, and is well known in the Cincinnati market area,” said Susan Branscome, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Cincinnati office.

Juran is a participant in the Urban Land Institute (ULI), NAIOP and University of Cincinnati Real Estate Roundtable events. He graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

About NorthMarq Capital
NorthMarq Capital, the largest privately held commercial real estate financial intermediary in the U.S., provides debt, equity and commercial loan servicing through its 36 offices across the U.S. The company has built long-term relationships with life companies, CMBS platforms and local, regional and national banks and has a long track record of multi-family loan origination through Freddie Mac Program Plus™, the Fannie Mae DUS program and through FHA, resulting in more than $13 billion in annual production volume and a loan portfolio of more than $45 billion. For more information please visit northmarqcap.wpengine.com.

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NorthMarq acquires Quest Commercial Capital Corp. in Cincinnati

MINNEAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2014) — Minneapolis-based NorthMarq Capital, LLC., one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate mortgage banking firms, has acquired Quest Commercial Capital Corp in Cincinnati, Ohio. Quest Commercial Capital Corp. had been in business 17 years with many investor relationships and a strong servicing portfolio.

Joining NorthMarq from Quest is Susan Branscome, the firm’s founder, who will become NorthMarq’s fourth female managing director. The company was founded in 1998 as a mortgage banking firm providing long-term financing for industrial, office, multifamily and retail projects. Quest was a woman-owned business and Susan was one of only two women in the country to have started her own mortgage banking company.

“We have long admired the work of Quest Commercial Capital under Susan’s leadership,” said Jeff Weidell, president-NorthMarq Capital. “The company has become a strong force in their market and we look forward to supporting Susan as she continues to grow the business in Cincinnati.”

“This acquisition is a great addition to NorthMarq Capital as it offers coverage to a part of the country we didn’t serve from our other regional offices,” said Weidell.

Prior to founding Quest Commercial Capital, Ms. Branscome was vice president of Capstone Realty Investors in Cincinnati where she originated more than $150 million in commercial mortgage loans.

“I am excited to join such a great organization in NorthMarq Capital. The company has an unprecedented reputation for excellent loan production and loan servicing. We have tremendous opportunity working together to originate loans in this region of the country,” says Branscome.

NorthMarq Capital, the largest privately held commercial real estate financial intermediary in the U.S., provides mortgage banking and commercial loan servicing in 35 offices coast-to-coast. With more than $10 billion in annual production volume and servicing a loan portfolio of more than $42 billion, the company offers expertise to borrowers of all size. The company has a long track record of multi-family financing as a Freddie Mac Program Plus™ Seller-Servicer, and through its affiliation with Fannie Mae DUS lender AmeriSphere Multifamily Finance. In addition, NorthMarq has long loan production and loan servicing relationships with more than 50 life companies, many CMBS platforms and hundreds of local, regional and national banks. For more information, please visit northmarqcap.wpengine.com.

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