The Propellers of Debt Liquidity A strong re-emergence of hotel financing driven by CMBS will propel debt liquidity to its highest level since 2007. CMBS lenders will continue to drive pricing, terms and accessibility. Balance sheet lenders are more selective with regard to asset quality, market and sponsorship, but will continue to provide floating rate structures that are favored by hotel owners. It's expected that hotels will remain a targeted asset class for lenders as they offer high yields, relative to other real estate and fixed income classes, relative to the risk.
"The unpaid balance of hotel CMBS loans with initial maturity dates through 2013 totals nearly $19 billion[iii]. Lenders, and in particular subordinate lenders, have shown an increased willingness to foreclose or exercise other rights and remedies, including note sales. Consequently, 2013 could very well mark the beginning of the long-awaited 'great deleveraging' particularly for hotel assets," added Mathew Comfort, Executive Vice President of Jones Lang LaSalle.
Striking While the Iron's Hot: The Big Buyers There are several key drivers of deal activity including: availability and cost of capital, changes in supply and demand fundamentals, REIT stock prices, the size of the assets brought to market and the overall hotel ownership composition as more hotels are in the hands of traders verse long-term holders. Jones Lang LaSalle expects private equity funds to be the largest net buyers in 2013 as the funds unleashed more than $6.5 billion of capital into Americas hotel investments in 2012. During the next several years these funds will have a buying capacity with leverage of up to $45 billion for hotel acquisitions. Coupled with REITs, private equity will likely comprise as much as 70 percent of total acquisition volume.
REITs will remain active buyers of single-asset acquisitions or small portfolios of institutional quality hotels in the top 15 markets; however, the exact force of REITs on the market will depend largely on their ability to raise capital when it is accretive to shareholders. On the flip side, private equity funds will be seeking needle-moving bulk investments in either large single assets or portfolios as well as high-yield driven trades in the secondary and tertiary markets.