In today’s Four on Friday, we talk with James Kelly, vice president at Hunt Mortgage Group, a specialty commercial real estate finance company. James shares his insights on his duties at Hunt Mortgage Group, what kinds of loans are most popular among investors and what loan volumes will look like in 2015.
Give us an overview of your duties at Hunt Mortgage Group.
Kelly: I provide loans for multifamily and commercial real estate investors. The focus of my work is to find out what clients need and match their needs with the appropriate product at the best terms available in the market. Hunt's platform includes Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA, Bridge and CMBS loans. While the majority of my customers are located in the Southeast, I lend throughout the United States.
What sector of real estate are you originating the most loans for and why? What kinds of loans are most popular among investors?
Kelly: Most of my originations the past few years were agency loans for multifamily properties. Hunt is the largest owner of apartments in the United States, so naturally it's a sector that we know and understand well. Most of our clients prefer to lock in today's low interest rates on a long-term basis. However, we've seen a large uptick in the number of seven-year, floating rate loans the past couple years for investors that like the lower rate and the pre-payment flexibility. Our bridge program is also becoming more popular.
How do you foresee loan activity in 2015 comparing to 2014?
Kelly: There's a lot of equity searching for real estate right now. When coupled with all the upcoming maturities from loans originated from 2005-2007, we expect volume to be much higher in 2015. We are already seeing more activity than at this time last year. Our bridge and commercial loan platforms will continue to grow now that people are learning what we offer. What really sets us apart in the commercial space is that we can keep our loans on balance sheet, and since we don't have to securitize our loans, we're not as affected by market fluctuations. We close under the terms we said we'd close.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Kelly: I like to do anything that's outdoors, so it's fortunate that my wife and two girls love to go to the mountains to hike and camp. I also enjoy sports and have been focused primarily on crossfit the past year.