Commercial Financing for Real Estate and Small Businesses in the Lehigh Valley

by Jeff Barber

It’s been eight years since the U.S. Economy went off the tracks, along with the real estate market.  Everything just stopped working.  Business owners were being thrown out of banks, and their loans were being called since banks needed to get their capital back.  Real estate investors were not able to get loans, even the best of credit borrowers could not borrow money.  Banks were closed for business when it came to lending money.  Nobody knew where the bottom was at in the marketplace.

Fast forward to 2016, in the last year eight years the real estate market has healed for the most part. Prices of properties are in line where they should be.  Lenders are back to lending for good pieces of real estate and to good business owners.  Today’s lenders do a lot more due diligence on borrowers and businesses.  Lenders want to lend, but they want good loans on their books. After all, the regulators are all over the banks today with audits and questions on every loan.

The Lehigh Valley continues to be a great area for real estate investors and business owners to invest.  Our economy in the Lehigh Valley is strong, no matter what is going on in different parts of the United States.  The Lehigh Valley is 1 hour to Philly, 1 ½ hours to NYC, 3 hours to Washington DC and 5 hours to Boston.  The Northeast is the wealthiest part of the United States, and that helps all of us right here in the Lehigh Valley.

Major corporations, large and small what access to our real estate market.  That, in turn, helps our property values and local businesses.  Banks want access to our marketplace, and that’s why banks are buying banks.  There has been a huge separation in banking.   You have larger banks and smaller banks, no middle size banks, which is a problem.  You also have credit unions stepping up and doing their share to help with commercial lending.  All signs show that the money is flowing in the Lehigh Valley again.

If a borrower has good credit, good financials and experience in real estate or business, they can purchase almost anything they want.  If you’re someone that has credit issues and cannot verify your income, it’s going to be a little more challenging for you to obtain financing and if you can get funding in place, you will pay higher rates and fees, since you’re considered a risk.

Overall, all parts of the Lehigh Valley businesses and commercial real estate markets are prospering, which in turn makes for good commercial lending.   Allentown is coming back to life because of the NIZ Zone and committed developers. Bethlehem was the first in the Lehigh Valley to understand the importance of economic revitalization, which continues to grow. Easton has been doing well for the last ten years with their restaurant scene along with its committed group of real estate investors.  Not to mention, people are moving back into the cities at a record number after 30+ years of moving to the suburbs.  We will continue to attract families and businesses from New York and New Jersey, because of lower real estate taxes and affordable properties, compared to where they’re coming from.  It also seems that the townships and boroughs are growing, but at a slower pace, but they will all continue to prosper as long as the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton stay on the right path to growth.

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