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  • Writer's pictureColin Dubel

How Interest Rates are Determined for Commercial Mortgages

Loan interest rates for commercial real estate mortgages are determined by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Creditworthiness of the Borrower: Lenders will assess the borrower's credit score, financial history, and existing debt obligations to determine the risk of default.

  2. Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio: LTV is the ratio of the loan amount to the value of the property. A lower LTV indicates less risk for the lender, which can lead to a lower interest rate.

  3. Property Type and Location: The type of property and its location can impact the interest rate. For example, lenders may offer lower rates for properties located in areas with high demand or that are considered low-risk investments.

  4. Loan Term: The length of the loan term can also affect the interest rate. Longer terms may have higher rates to compensate for the longer risk exposure for the lender.

  5. Market Conditions: Interest rates can be influenced by overall economic conditions, including inflation, the supply and demand of credit, and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

  6. Lender's Business Model and Risk Appetite: Different lenders have different business models and risk appetites, which can result in different interest rates even for the same borrower and property.

  7. Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR): DSCR measures a property's ability to generate enough cash flow to cover debt service payments. Lenders typically require a minimum DSCR of 1.25 to 1.5, which means that the property's net operating income must be 1.25 to 1.5 times the amount of its annual debt service. A higher DSCR can result in a lower interest rate, as it indicates a lower risk of default.

  8. Prepayment Penalty: A prepayment penalty is a fee that a borrower must pay if they pay off their loan before the end of the term. Lenders may charge a prepayment penalty to compensate for the interest income they would have earned if the loan had remained outstanding. The amount and duration of the penalty can affect the interest rate. For example, a loan with a shorter prepayment penalty may have a higher interest rate.

  9. Fees and Closing Costs: In addition to interest rates, borrowers should also consider the fees and closing costs associated with the loan. These can include origination fees, appraisal fees, legal fees, and title insurance. These costs can vary widely depending on the lender and the property, and can significantly impact the overall cost of the loan.

It's also worth noting that commercial real estate loans can come in a variety of forms, including fixed-rate loans, adjustable-rate loans, and bridge loans. Fixed-rate loans offer a stable interest rate over the life of the loan, while adjustable-rate loans can offer lower initial rates that adjust periodically over the loan term. Bridge loans are short-term loans that are typically used to fund the purchase or renovation of a property while a borrower secures permanent financing. Each of these loan types can have different interest rates and terms, and borrowers should carefully consider their options before choosing a loan that best fits their needs.


In summary, interest rates for commercial real estate mortgages are determined by a complex combination of factors, including the borrower's creditworthiness, the LTV ratio, property type and location, loan term, market conditions, DSCR, prepayment penalties, fees, and closing costs. Borrowers should carefully evaluate their options and work with an experienced lender to find a loan that meets their needs and budget.


If you have any questions about this article or would like to discuss a scenario of your own with our team, please feel free to contact Colin Dubel at colin@harborwestcommercial.com or 949-735-6415.

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