U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet recently joined National Association of REALTORSÂ® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun at an event highlighting small business issues and commercial real estate.
â€śCommercial real estate plays a big role in supporting the national economy, contributing to job growth and the revitalization of communities,â€ť says Yun. â€śFor that work to continue, access to credit is critical. The SBA is important to facilitating liquidity in the marketplace, connecting small businesses with lenders and offering assistance when the general credit market freezes or disaster strikes.â€ť
Yun says these issues are important to REALTORSÂ®, who not only have a vested interest in the success of small business but are often small business owners themselves. â€śWe appreciate the SBAâ€™s ongoing partnership and look forward to future collaboration,â€ť he says.
SBA loan programs are an option for commercial real estate interests when other funding is unavailable.Â According to NAR research, SBA loans provided one in 10 REALTORSÂ® with commercial real estate funding in 2014. Twelve percent of REALTORSÂ® utilized the SBA for resources other than loans.
Administrator Contreras-Sweet underscored the SBAâ€™s commitment to electronic filings as part of an overall effort to cut down on processing times for applications. She also took the opportunity to highlight SBAâ€™s LINC program, an online platform that connects small businesses with SBA lenders.
Other experts from SBA also joined Yun for a discussion on SBA loan programs. Linda Reilly, chief of SBAâ€™s 504 Loan Program, discussed how her office assists small businesses in purchasing fixed assets. Likewise, Bob Carpenter of the SBAâ€™s 7(a) Program branch discussed his officeâ€™s work providing loans directly to small businesses.
Small business concerns are important to REALTORSÂ®, which largely operate as small business owners. According to NARâ€™sÂ 2015Â Profile of Real Estate Firms, 80 percent of real estate firms have a single office, typically with two full-time real estate licensees. Firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million in 2014.
In light of the recent floods in South Carolina, panelists also discussed SBAâ€™s low-interest disaster loans to small business owners affected by severe storms and other natural disasters. According toÂ recent NAR data, 5 percent of members who utilized SBA loan programs did so through a disaster loan.
Overall, REALTORÂ® commercial members show heavy optimism for the future of their industry, according to NARâ€™s firm profile. Of those members surveyed, 75 percent expect their profitability (net income) to improve over the next year.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.