A commercial mortgage is a mortgage loan secured by commercial property, such as an office building, shopping center, industrial warehouse, or apartment complex. The proceeds from a commercial mortgage are typically used to acquire, refinance, or redevelop commercial property.
Commercial mortgages are structured to meet the needs of the borrower and the lender. Key terms include the loan amount (sometimes referred to as “loan proceeds”), interest rate, term (sometimes referred to as the “maturity”), amortization schedule, and prepayment flexibility. Commercial mortgages are generally subject to extensive underwriting and due diligence prior to closing. The lender’s underwriting process may include a financial review of the property and the property owner (or “sponsor”), as well as commissioning and review of various third-party reports, such as an appraisal.
There were $3.1 trillion of commercial and multifamily mortgages outstanding in the U.S. as of June 30, 2013. Of these mortgages, approximately 49% were held by banks, 18% were held by asset-backed trusts (issuers of CMBS), 12% were held by government-sponsored enterprises and Agency and GSE-backed mortgage pools, and 10% were held by life insurance companies.