Posted on Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Many a pundit has argued that the key to economic recovery can be found in small businesses. Distressed conditions in the commercial real estate market combined with historically low interest rates present an opportunity for small business owners looking to grow their businesses, but many are finding themselves locked out of potential deals.
According to the results of a nationwide survey published by CIT Group Inc. Monday, nearly one in five small business owners – 19 percent – say they don’t have the cash to cover the down payment needed to secure a traditional bank loan for acquiring commercial real estate.
Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said the biggest barrier they faced in securing a loan to buy commercial real estate was current market and economic conditions.
CIT maintains that lower commercial real estate values continue to offer one of the few upsides for small business owners as the United States recovers from the recession.
Nevertheless, the company found that only 6 percent of small business owners have purchased one or more properties over the past two years, while the majority – 52 percent – hasn’t even thought about acquiring additional space.
In fact, just over a quarter, or 28 percent, believe that buying real estate today presents a “great” or “substantial” opportunity.
Chris Reilly, president of CIT Small Business Lending, commented, “Today’s market conditions may offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level.”
According to Reilly, Small Business Administration (SBA) 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.
Based on CIT’s survey results, one-fifth of respondents indicated that SBA loans were designed to help business owners with less than perfect credit. Small business owners indicated that SBA loans allowed borrowers to make a lower down payment, have a lower monthly payment, and pay off the loan over a longer time period.
But CIT says few are familiar with recent small business legislation and its benefits. Over half – 52 percent – of small business owners indicated that they did not know what the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act was or how it might impact them as small business owners.
The company says the legislation sweetens SBA loan terms for both lenders and borrowers, eliminating borrowers’ fees, raising the loan guarantee to 90 percent from 75 percent, and increasing loan limits.
U.S. small businesses have a significant impact on the American economy. CIT says they employ nearly 59 million Americans – approximately half of all private-sector jobs – and collectively account for more than half of the country’s non-farm private gross domestic product.
DS News. Carrie Bay