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Could Chicago Commercial Property Values Drop Further?

Article:
(This archived article was published in 2012.  More recent data is found in the articles section of our web site). As the economy sputters along largely supported by very low interest rates many people in the commercial real estate and banking field are justifiably concerned about commercial real estate values. Property values have dropped dramatically over the past few years before appearing to stabilize. The Federal Reserve Bank had dropped interest rates to historically low rates to help stimulate the economy. While values appear to have at least partially stabilized, the question becomes what happens next? Interest rates will not stay at historically low rates forever. Investors in Illinois are becoming increasingly worried about how low interest rates may be propping up values. The question would then become what will be the impact of higher interest rates on value? By using the Band of Investment technique Peterson Appraisal Group, Ltd. can mathematically quantify what the impact might be. For the purposes of this analysis I assumed that the typical investment has an 70% loan-to-value ratio and a 25 year amortization on the loan. I also assumed interest rates with no points and that the investor would require a 9% return on their 30% equity position. I am also assuming that our hypothetical property has a net operating income of $100,000.

Interest RateCapitalization RateNet Operating IncomeProperty Value 
5.0%7.6%$100,000$1,315,789
5.5%7.9%$100,000$1,265,823
6.0%8.1%$100,000$1,234,568
6.5%8.4%$100,000$1,190,476
7.0%8.6%$100,000$1,162,791
7.5%8.9%$100,000$1,123,596
8.0%9.2%$100,000$1,086,957
8.5%9.5%$100,000$1,052,632
9.0%9.8%$100,000$1,020,408
9.5%10.0%$100,000$1,000,000
10.0%10.3%$100,000$970,874
It is quite clear that an increase in interest rates could further drive down property values. Even if the economy overall improves, real estate continues to be at risk. An increase in interest rates from 5% to 7% would theoretically result in a decline in property value of over 7%. Most of us can remember when interest rates for commercial loans were typically around 9%. Should that occur, values might drop by 29%. 
We say they values might drop because there is not always a 1:1 relationship between interest rates and capitalization rates. In the mid 2005-2007 period interest rates went up but capitalization rates actually went down. That is because the band of investment technique used above has two variables that must be considered. In that time period investors were willing to accept a progressively lower return on their equity position that offset the interest rate hikes. In our example above we assume a 9% return on the 30% equity position in the property. If an investor would be willing to accept a 6% return then the overall capitalization rate could go down. An investor is normally more willing to accept a lower initial return if they believe property values are rising more quickly. They can make their money on the resale a few years down the road instead of relying on the cash flow that can be generated today. At this point in the economic cycle we do not believe there are high expectations of substantial property price increases. For the short term we believe that increasing interest rates could threaten commercial property values and limit the upside potential. It is important for property owners to monitor their property values to insure that assessment levels are fair and reflect current market conditions. Peterson Appraisal Group, Ltd. is a Chicago based commercial property appraisal firm.

J. Chie, Esquire

Our law firm provides legal work for real estate closings for over 30 years… What distinguishes Chicago Commercial Appraisal Group from other appraisers is the level of thoroughness and details.

A. Raila, Senior Tax Analyst

Gary is a hands-on professional always willing to pick up the phone and work with you... His appraisal firm produces one of the best real estate forecasting reports in the state. I highly recommend his work and his opinion is highly recognized by governmental agencies.

J. Norris, Property Tax Attorney

As an attorney, we deal with many appraisal reports used in tax appraisals. Gary's work has proven successful for our clients and I do not hesitate recommending him for tax assessment appeal appraisals.

C. Noone, property owner

I needed an appraisal for settling an estate. Mr. Peterson was very professional, punctual and helpful with the process. I received my report ina timely manner. I would certainly recommend this company, as well as use their services in the future.

J. Tsiaousis

Gary is one of the top commercial appraisers in Chicago. Every time I have a client in need of a commercial appraiser I refer all work to him without hesitation.