ULI 2010: Leverage will return to above peak levels

Debt availability in the US is starting to return to real estate markets, and ‘given enough time’ will ‘return at much higher levels’ than seen in 2007, Beacon Capital’s Alan Leventhal told the ULI spring conference.

Real estate debt will return in force and could even top levels seen at the height of the market in 2007, according to Beacon Capital Partners’ chairman and chief executive officer Alan Leventhal.

Speaking on the final day of the Urban Land Institute's spring conference in Boston, Leventhal said debt was already starting to return to US property markets and “given enough time it will return at much higher levels” than the peak.

Leverage only helps the seller, it never helps the buyer.

Beacon Capital Partners’ chairman and chief executive officer Alan Leventhal

He told the more than 3,000 delegates who attended the three-day forum that Beacon was looking to refinance the mortgage on its $423 million One Beacon Street office property, in Boston, which was set to mature next year.

The deal had been leveraged at 68 percent loan-to-value, Leventhal explained, and in recently looking for a refinancing option Beacon had been able to “get within $8 million of the loan amount in 2006”.

“It’s very interesting,” he said, adding that Beacon had decided to “wait” to refinance for the time being.

Leventhal, citing one endowment chief investment officer, offered one piece of advice to delegates at the final session of the ULI conference: “Leverage only helps the seller, it never helps the buyer.”

In January 2009, Beacon sold a 50 percent stake in One Beacon Street to Allianz, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics. A $210 million securitised first mortgage was secured against the property in 2006, at a fixed rate of 6.1 percent. RCA said the loan, securitized by Goldman Sachs as GS 2006-GG8, matures in August 2011.