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  • Writer's pictureColin Dubel

How the Federal Funds Rate Affects Commercial Real Estate Lending

Changes in the Federal Funds rate can have an impact on commercial real estate interest rates. The Federal Funds rate is the interest rate at which banks lend reserves to each other overnight, and it serves as a benchmark for short-term interest rates. When the Federal Reserve raises the Federal Funds rate, it becomes more expensive for banks to borrow money, which can lead to higher interest rates for businesses and individuals.


Commercial real estate interest rates are influenced by a variety of factors, including the overall state of the economy, investor demand for commercial real estate, and the availability of credit. However, changes in the Federal Funds rate can also have an impact on commercial real estate interest rates, particularly for short-term loans.


When the Federal Reserve raises the Federal Funds rate, it can lead to higher borrowing costs for banks and other financial institutions. This, in turn, can lead to higher interest rates for commercial real estate loans, particularly for short-term loans such as construction loans or bridge loans. Conversely, when the Federal Reserve lowers the Federal Funds rate, it can lead to lower borrowing costs and lower interest rates for commercial real estate loans.


It's important to note that changes in the Federal Funds rate are just one factor that can impact commercial real estate interest rates. Other factors such as inflation, economic growth, and investor demand for commercial real estate can also play a significant role in determining interest rates for commercial real estate loans.


What Economic Factors & Changes Affect the Fed Rates?


The Federal Reserve sets the Federal Funds rate based on a variety of economic factors and changes in the broader economy. Some of the key economic factors and changes that can affect the Federal Funds rate include:

  1. Inflation: Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising. The Federal Reserve aims to keep inflation at a moderate and stable level, and changes in the inflation rate can influence the Federal Funds rate.

  2. Economic Growth: The Federal Reserve monitors economic growth indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) and employment to gauge the health of the economy. When the economy is growing at a healthy pace, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates to prevent overheating and inflation.

  3. Consumer Spending: Consumer spending is a critical driver of economic growth, and changes in consumer spending patterns can impact the Federal Funds rate. When consumer spending is high, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates to curb inflation, while low levels of consumer spending may prompt the Federal Reserve to lower rates to stimulate economic activity.

  4. International Economic Conditions: Changes in the global economy can also influence the Federal Funds rate. The Federal Reserve may adjust interest rates in response to changes in international economic conditions such as exchange rates, inflation rates, and economic growth.

  5. Financial Market Conditions: Financial market conditions, including stock prices, bond yields, and credit availability, can impact the Federal Funds rate. When financial market conditions are volatile or uncertain, the Federal Reserve may adjust interest rates to stabilize the economy.

Overall, the Federal Reserve takes a data-driven approach to setting the Federal Funds rate, considering a range of economic factors and changes to ensure the stability and health of the US economy.


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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