CIT Group: Fifth of small businesses can't afford down payment for CRE loan
Nearly a fifth of small business owners don't have enough money for a down payment on a commercial real estate loan, and more than a third told CIT Group (CIT) current market and overall economic conditions keep them from securing a loan. The bank holding company published a small business commercial real estate survey that showed just 6% of respondents purchased a property during the past two years and more than half haven't even considered acquiring property. Only 28% of those surveyed "believe that buying real estate today presents a 'great' or 'substantial' opportunity," according to CIT. "The depressed commercial real estate market and historically low interest rates continue to present an opportunity for small business owners looking to grow their businesses,” said Christine Reilly, president of CIT Small Business Lending. "Today’s market conditions may offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level," she said. "To achieve this, Small Business Administration loans, with their low cost and flexible terms, offer an excellent choice for small business owners looking to refinance their existing real estate or to acquire a new property." The survey of more than 300 small business owners also found a limited number who are considering refinancing existing loans, while almost a quarter aren't likely to consider refinancing, at all. CIT Group said slightly more than half of respondents had little or no knowledge of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act that President Obama signed into law in late September. The legislation "sweetens SBA loan terms for both lenders and borrowers, eliminating borrowers’ fees, raising the loan guarantee to 90% from 75%, and increasing loan limits," according to CIT. The company also said the survey was conducted in early September, before the bill passed and was signed into law. Write to Jason Philyaw.