SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet, Realtors® Chief Economist Yun Put Commercial Lending in Focus
WASHINGTON (October 9, 2015) – U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet today joined National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun at an event highlighting small business issues and commercial real estate.
“Commercial real estate plays a big role in supporting the national economy, contributing to job growth and the revitalization of communities,” said Yun. “For that work to continue, access to credit is critical. The SBA is important to facilitating liquidity in the marketplace, connecting small businesses with lenders and offering assistance when the general credit market freezes or disaster strikes.”
Yun said these issues are important to Realtors®, who not only have a vested interest in the success of small business but are often small business owners themselves. “We appreciate the SBA’s ongoing partnership and look forward to future collaboration,” he said.
SBA loan programs are an option for commercial real estate interests when other funding is unavailable. According to NAR research, SBA loans provided one in 10 Realtors® with commercial real estate funding in 2014. Twelve percent of Realtors® utilized the SBA for resources other than loans.
Administrator Contreras-Sweet underscored the SBA’s commitment to electronic filings as part of an overall effort to cut down on processing times for applications. She also took the opportunity to highlight SBA’s LINC program, an online platform that connects small businesses with SBA lenders.
Other experts from SBA also joined Yun for a discussion on SBA loan programs. Linda Reilly, chief of SBA’s 504 Loan Program, discussed how her office assists small businesses in purchasing fixed assets. Likewise, Bob Carpenter of the SBA’s 7(a) Program branch discussed his office’s work providing loans directly to small businesses.
Small business concerns are important to Realtors®, which largely operate as small business owners. According to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Real Estate Firms, 80 percent of real estate firms have a single office, typically with two full-time real estate licensees. Firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million in 2014.
In light of the recent floods in South Carolina, panelists also discussed SBA’s low-interest disaster loans to small business owners affected by severe storms and other natural disasters. According to recent NAR data, 5 percent of members who utilized SBA loan programs did so through a disaster loan.
Overall, Realtor® commercial members show heavy optimism for the future of their industry, according to NAR’s firm profile. Of those members surveyed, 75 percent expect their profitability (net income) to improve over the next year.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.