Navigating the World of Prepayment Penalties in Commercial Real Estate: A Guide to Yield Maintenance and Defeasance

Apr 19, 2024

When it comes to commercial real estate financing, prepayment penalties are a crucial aspect that borrowers need to understand. Two common methods of calculating prepayment penalties are Yield Maintenance and Defeasance. Let's delve into these two strategies to help you navigate the complexities of prepayment penalties in commercial real estate.

Yield Maintenance

Yield Maintenance is a method used by lenders to ensure they receive the same yield as if the borrower had made all scheduled mortgage payments until maturity. Here's how it works:

  • It calculates the present value of remaining loan payments based on the original loan terms and prevailing interest rates.
  • If interest rates have decreased since the loan origination, the borrower may face a substantial prepayment penalty.

Understanding the concept of Yield Maintenance is crucial for borrowers looking to refinance or sell their commercial property before the loan term ends.

yield maintenance


Defeasance is another method to replace the collateral for the loan with other securities, typically government bonds. Here are some key points to consider:

  • It allows borrowers to prepay their loans without triggering a significant penalty.
  • By substituting the original collateral with government bonds, lenders are still assured of their expected yield.

Defeasance can be a more cost-effective option for borrowers compared to Yield Maintenance, especially in a declining interest rate environment.

Choosing the Right Option

When deciding between Yield Maintenance and Defeasance, borrowers need to consider various factors such as:

  • Current interest rate environment
  • Loan terms and remaining balance
  • Future plans for the property

Consulting with a financial advisor or a real estate attorney can help you determine the best prepayment strategy based on your specific circumstances.

commercial real estate

Final Thoughts

Prepayment penalties can significantly impact the financial implications of refinancing or selling a commercial property. Understanding the differences between Yield Maintenance and Defeasance is essential for making informed decisions that align with your financial goals.

Whether you opt for Yield Maintenance or Defeasance, being aware of the potential costs and benefits of each method can help you navigate the world of prepayment penalties in commercial real estate more effectively.

real estate finance