Business Borrowing is Up in March

(Reuters) – U.S. small businesses boosted borrowing in March, signaling a renewal of confidence in growth prospects after an unusually harsh winter crimped investment. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the volume of financing to small companies, rose to 115 in March from 111.6 in February, PayNet said on Wednesday. It was the first monthly gain since December, and marked an 18 percent increase from a year earlier. The year-on-year increase, the biggest in more than two years, reflects more optimism among small business owners and “signals some continued strengthening” for the U.S. economy overall, PayNet founder Bill Phelan said. After stumbling badly in the first quarter, the U.S. economy appears set for a rebound, with economists predicting that growth this quarter will come in at an annualized rate of 3 percent or more. Federal Reserve policymakers are set to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday with a decision to continue reducing the U.S. central bank’s bond-buying stimulus at a measured pace, reflecting their expectations that despite increasing momentum the economy still needs plenty of support. A separate index released by PayNet showed loan delinquencies only slightly above recent record lows. Delinquencies of 31-to-180 days, PayNet’s broadest measure of late loan payments, ticked up to 1.48 percent of all loans made. The index hit a high of 4.73 percent in August 2009. The record low was 1.44 percent last October. PayNet collects real-time loan information such as originations and delinquencies from more than 250 leading U.S. lenders. (Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Leslie Adler)...

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New Small Business Data

If you’ve been waiting for a healthy environment to sell a small business, 2014 may be your moment. The BizBuySell Insight Report, published by the online business marketplace BizBuySell, found that the number of small-business deals that closed in 2013 increased by 41.7 percent in the third quarter compared to the same quarter in 2012, with restaurants and retail businesses seeing the most action. The median sale price for small businesses in Q3 of 2013 was $180,000—up 2.9 percent from the same time the previous year, though a little below the median asking price of $199,000. On average, selling prices were equal to 2.19 percent of cash flow. The healthy selling climate seems likely to continue—which is good news for those who are eager to retire or cash out. Among mergers-and-acquisitions insiders, 68 percent expected the market to pick up strength in the 12 months following September 2013, according to a survey released in October by the law firm Dykema, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. With interest rates still low, experts say many buyers should be able to access affordable financing. “You’ve got a pretty good window in 2014 where rates will begin to start to rise but still stay at historically low levels,” said Mitch Davidson, managing director of Post Capital Partners, a New York City private equity firm focused on the lower end of the middle market. “Debt finances a significant element of these transactions.” (Read more: Where American entrepreneurs are striking next) Of course, the market for any small business can be unpredictable, so owners shouldn’t sell just because there’s momentum now, say experts. There need to be other compelling reasons to put a business on the market, whether that’s the desire to move on to a new venture or to slow down. “Market timing is always tricky, so I’m not sure that anybody should be waiting for just the right time to sell,” said Kevin O’Connell, a partner in the corporate department at Boston-based law firm Posternak Blankstein & Lund, who works in mergers and acquisitions. If you are considering selling a business at some point in the near future, it is important to get it into shape to reap the maximum return on your investment. Here are five strategies experts recommend. The best part: None of these will be wasted efforts if you reconsider selling, because all will make your business stronger. 1. Get...

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Commercial and Multifamily sales are up 36% over the first quarter

Commercial and Multifamily sales are up 36% over the first quarter

Commercial and multifamily mortgage origination volume during the second quarter of 2013 were seven percent higher than during the second quarter of 2012 and 36 percent higher than during the first quarter of 2013, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations. “Commercial and multifamily mortgage lending and borrowing continued to grow during the second quarter,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s vice president of commercial real estate research. “The apartment market continues to be the belle of the ball, with multifamily mortgage originations running 31 percent ahead of last year’s first half total. And after a slow start to the year, lending by life insurance companies surged in the second quarter to record the highest quarterly volume on record for that sector.” The seven percent overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volume, when compared to the second quarter of 2012, was driven by the increase in originations for multifamily properties. The increase included a 31 percent increase in the dollar volume of loans for multifamily properties, a three percent increase for hotel properties, a 14 percent decrease for retail properties, a 36 percent decrease for health care properties, and office and industrial properties remained unchanged when compared to the second quarter of 2012. Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans originated for life insurance companies increased by 16 percent from last year’s second quarter. There was a 13 percent increase for commercial bank portfolio loans, an eight percent increase for Government Sponsored Enterprise (or GSE – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loans, and a 14 percent decrease in dollar volume of loans originated for conduits for CMBS. Second quarter 2013 commercial and multifamily mortgage originations were 36 percent higher than originations in the first quarter. Compared to the first quarter, second quarter 2013 originations for hotel properties saw an 89 percent increase. There was a 75 percent increase for office properties, a 48 percent increase for retail properties, a 44 percent increase for industrial properties, a 22 percent increase for multifamily properties, and health care properties were unchanged from first to second quarter 2013. Among investor types, between the first and second quarters of 2013, loans for life insurance companies saw an increase in dollar volume of 100 percent, loans for conduits for CMBS saw an increase in loan volume of 27 percent, originations for commercial bank portfolios increased 14 percent and loans for GSEs...

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