The Effect of a Rise in Interest Rates on Hotel Capitalization Rates

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Cornell University School of Hotel Administration


Capitalization rates for all commercial real estate are affected by changes in the general level of interest rates. Hotel capitalization rates should respond more quickly to interest rate changes than those of other property types because hotels do not experience the “lease friction” found in other commercial properties, with their lengthy leases. This analysis estimates the statistical connection between interest rate changes and cap rates. Holding other important factors constant, the model estimates that at current levels a 100-basis-point increase in the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate will produce a 28-basis-point uptick in hotel capitalization rates. Continuing improvement in the U.S. economy should eventually result in higher interest rates, but any improvement should also bring both compression of the hotel risk premium and stronger NOI growth, each of which place downward pressure on capitalization rates. With hotel capitalization rates currently in a range of 7.0 to 8.5 percent and an expected slow pace of interest-rate changes, the modelled outcome suggests that hotel property values will remain stable for the foreseeable future. Hotel investors should therefore have ample time to ponder disposition decisions without fear of losing gains while new investors will need to rely on the strong dividend flows currently being produced by hotels for a greater shares of total returns



capitalization rates, hotel investment, interest rate elasticity, Cornell