Updated: Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:05

Community banks drive real estate, construction lending in 2013

photo provided Gregory T. Marini, The Coastal Bank
photo provided Gregory T. Marini, The Coastal Bank
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As the economy continues to strengthen, non-residential construction activity is making a strong comeback.

This trend is expected to continue through 2014, according to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Consensus Construction Forecast Panel. In fact, eight of the last 12 months in 2012 showed positive performance results for construction, and the fourth quarter was at its strongest since 2008, suggesting that construction should continue to accelerate significantly going forward.

Commercial real estate and construction development sectors, as well as the general economy, have faced a tough borrowing environment over the last several years as the nation debated critical issues including the fiscal cliff crisis, increased taxes, the debt ceiling and new health care costs associated with the Affordable Care Act.

However, communities across the nation are currently experiencing a re-energized lending market with a marked uptick in bank competition for developers and investors looking for long-term commercial real estate and construction financing options.

By any measure, this is good news for Savannah’s business community.

Locally, community banks who weathered the storm and aggressively resolved nonperforming loans and assets are currently getting creative with commercial real estate and constructing lending terms, helping investors jump start new construction projects and secure new acquisitions.

These financial institutions have money to lend to developers and investors who are investing in Savannah’s future.

In fact, community banks are leading the way in new commercial real estate and construction lending. Borrowers appreciate their ability to offer strategic market intelligence and to execute commercial real estate and construction lending transactions quickly, as lending decisions are made by local leaders doing business in the local community.

Community banks can offer land development loans, take-out loans, interim construction loans, commercial mortgages and refinancing options to developers and investors.

In addition to creative and attractive loan options, consumers should never underestimate the value of a community bank’s powerhouse network of local relationships.

As the construction market continues to rebound, now is the perfect time to explore commercial lending options in Savannah. With long-term low rates and a range of loans available, speak to your local lender about solutions to fit the unique needs of your construction project.

Gregory T. Marini is a vice president and relationship manager at The Coastal Bank. He can be reached at 912-644-1650 or gmarini@thecoastalbank.com.

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