Understanding LIBOR Rate: What It Is and How It Impacts Commercial Mortgages

Apr 20, 2024

The London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, is a benchmark interest rate that is widely used as a reference for financial instruments such as commercial mortgages. Understanding LIBOR and its impact on commercial mortgages is crucial for businesses and investors in the real estate market.

What is LIBOR?

LIBOR is the average interest rate at which major global banks can borrow from one another in the international interbank market. It serves as a key indicator of the health of the financial system and is used as a reference rate for various financial products, including commercial mortgages.

How Does LIBOR Impact Commercial Mortgages?

Many commercial mortgages are tied to the LIBOR rate, with interest payments adjusted based on changes in the LIBOR. This means that fluctuations in the LIBOR rate can directly impact the cost of borrowing for commercial real estate projects.

Transition from LIBOR to SOFR

In 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority announced that LIBOR would be phased out by the end of 2021, leading to a transition to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as the preferred alternative reference rate. This transition has significant implications for commercial mortgages linked to LIBOR.

LIBOR transition

Risk Management and Hedging

For businesses and investors with commercial mortgages tied to LIBOR, it's essential to understand the potential impact of the transition to SOFR and to develop risk management strategies to mitigate any adverse effects on their mortgage payments.

Impact on Loan Terms and Pricing

The shift from LIBOR to SOFR may lead to changes in loan terms and pricing for commercial mortgages, as lenders and borrowers adapt to the new reference rate. It's important for stakeholders in the real estate market to stay informed about these developments.

Considerations for Borrowers and Lenders

Borrowers with existing commercial mortgages tied to LIBOR should engage in discussions with their lenders to understand how the transition to SOFR will affect their loan terms and payments. Similarly, lenders need to communicate with borrowers about the changes and potential implications.

Regulatory Guidance and Compliance

Regulators have provided guidance on the transition from LIBOR to alternative reference rates, and businesses involved in commercial real estate should ensure that they are compliant with the regulatory requirements related to the transition.


Understanding the impact of the LIBOR rate on commercial mortgages and staying informed about the transition to alternative reference rates is essential for businesses and investors in the real estate market. By proactively managing the transition and its implications, stakeholders can navigate the changes effectively and mitigate potential risks.