Commercial investors and developers in San Francisco are claiming that local lenders haven’t kept up with the area’s raging real estate market.

Lending institutions normally lend 60 percent to 75 percent of their calculation of a building’s value to finance construction or purchase. The borrower must come up with the rest.

However, a phenomenally rising market has thrown known figures out of whack, and developers say real estate lenders’ guidelines have not kept pace. They say lenders’ reluctance is holding back sales, as property owners keep their buildings off the market and wait for guidelines to catch up.

Meanwhile, lenders are holding back (loan) sales of their own, waiting for rents to fall back in line with traditional guidelines rather than altering the guidelines to fit what they see as a temporary phenomenon. Lenders traditionally use rental rates of $40 to $60 per sf as their guideline, rather than the skyrocketing downtown rental rates of $80 to $100 per sf.

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