rising interest rates affect an HOA

Rising interest rates affect an HOA significantly, both when it comes to borrowing money and depositing funds into a bank account. Board members should be aware of the impact of the economy on the association’s finances. This will allow them to manage their funds with prudence, make wise decisions for their community, and keep the level of resident satisfaction up.


How Do Rising Interest Rates Affect an HOA?

Interest rates play a crucial role in the cash flow of an HOA. Homeowners associations operate in much the same way as corporations, which means economic factors can have the same effect on them. When inflation and interest rates go up, associations see a shift in their finances.

How does interest rate and inflation affect an HOA? Let us count the ways.


1. Increase in HOA Fees

What is the impact of rising interest rates on HOAs? The most obvious effect is on HOA fees. When interest rates rise, associations have difficulty borrowing money for maintenance and other expenses. The cost of borrowing money also goes up, forcing HOAs to raise dues to compensate for the change.

Vendors also tend to increase their rates due to inflation, and the cost of goods and services spikes. All of these factors will inevitably push an association to collect higher fees from homeowners to meet the budget.


2. Lower Demand for Homes

When HOA fees increase, the demand for homes within HOA communities decreases. Potential buyers are already discouraged by the poor economy as mortgage interest rates shoot up. If they discover high HOA fees, they are even more deterred, as they don’t want to add another expense to their long list.


3. Fewer HOA Managers

Fewer HOA ManagersInflation and interest rates have a direct impact on the cost of living. When the cost of living rises, people tend to look for higher-paying jobs, resulting in a decrease in HOA managers. When the pool of HOA professionals dries out, management companies have a harder time coping because it dumps the workload on existing managers. These managers then experience burnout, affecting job performance.


4. Fewer Vendors and Supplies

Likewise, the shortage of both labor and supplies presents a notable hurdle for HOA management. Inflation and rising interest rates can cause increases in the cost of materials, prompting vendors to adjust their pricing. Vendors may opt out of the industry in some cases due to slim profit margins. Consequently, community managers must invest additional time in seeking out economic options.


5. Delayed Construction

Elevated interest rates and inflation frequently result in project delays or cancellations. As interest rates climb, the cost of borrowing shoots up with them, posing challenges for HOAs in funding construction initiatives. Such delays can impede the development of HOA communities and throw a wrench in amenity upgrades.


6. Restricted Cash Flow

As interest rates go up, homeowner associations have to pay back loans that cost more. This can put a lot of pressure on HOAs’ budgets and make it harder for them to adjust financially.

At the same time, HOAs usually keep some money in the bank or invest it to cover future projects or unexpected bills. However, when interest rates rise, the money they make from these investments decreases, making it tougher for them to earn from their savings.

Plus, when inflation increases, utility bills, insurance, and maintenance also cost more. This squeezes the amount of money HOAs have left, making it harder for them to manage their cash flow.

All these things together mean that HOA fees might have to go up for homeowners. That can affect how happy homeowners are and what they think about how well the HOA handles its money.


Taking Advantage of Increasing Interest Rates

On the other hand, there are some advantages for depositors with hefty balances who can leverage earnings credits. These credits allow banks to encourage commercial customers with large account balances. Simply put, they reward customers for keeping their money in the bank by offering credits that offset various fees, including interest and transaction charges.

For HOAs, earnings credits serve as a buffer against rising interest rates. Property owners can utilize these credits to cover HOA fees. This strategy helps mitigate the adverse effects of interest rate hikes in these sectors. Additionally, earnings credits can be directed towards covering expenses for software and services banks or third-party vendors provide.

Earnings credits offer a valuable resource when it comes to covering software and service expenses. Many businesses rely on such tools to operate efficiently, yet these costs can accumulate quickly. However, by utilizing earnings credits to alleviate these expenses, businesses can effectively trim their overall costs and bolster their financial performance.

To integrate earnings credits into software and service payments, businesses must collaborate with their financial institution or software provider to establish a systematic approach for allocating and utilizing these credits. Once implemented, companies can apply earnings credits to cover various software and service expenses.


How Interest Rate Management Helps an HOA

Interest rate management for HOAs offers many benefits, such as:


1. Cost Savings on Loans

An HOA can secure loans at more favorable rates by effectively managing interest rates. This reduces the overall cost of borrowing for major projects such as community renovations, infrastructure upgrades, or amenity enhancements.


2. Financial Stability

Stable and predictable interest rates provide financial stability for an HOA’s budgeting and planning processes. Fluctuating interest rates can lead to uncertain budget projections, making it difficult to allocate funds efficiently.


3. Optimized Reserve Fund Investments

HOAs often maintain reserve funds to cover unexpected expenses or future projects. Proper interest rate management allows the HOA to optimize the return on these investments. This, in turn, maximizes the funds available for community improvements and reduces the need for special assessments or increased HOA fees.


4. Mitigation of Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk refers to the potential adverse impact of fluctuations on the HOA’s financial position. An HOA can mitigate this risk and safeguard its financial health by implementing strategies such as hedging or diversifying investment portfolios.


Enhanced Cash Flow Management5. Enhanced Cash Flow Management

Stable interest rates facilitate better cash flow management for the HOA and more accurate projections. This ensures sufficient funds are available for ongoing maintenance and operational needs without relying too much on loans.


6. Improved Homeowner Satisfaction

Effective interest rate management can indirectly enhance homeowner satisfaction. Stable financial management practices contribute to a sense of financial security among homeowners and build trust in the HOA board.


Managing Interest-Bearing HOA Accounts

Investment accounts help combat inflation while associations save for major expenses in the future. When thinking about an investment account for a community’s reserves, managers and board members should remember these points:

  • Security. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) limits HOAs to $250,000 per banking institution to ensure better security.
  • Liquidity. Associations should be able to access funds whenever they please. Long-term investments may not provide much liquidity.
  • Yield. Investments that offer a higher yield also tend to have a higher risk. Therefore, an HOA should take more conservative investments that provide satisfactory returns.

Nowadays, banks offer accounts designed explicitly for HOAs and condominiums. The most common are the Insured Cash Sweep (ICS) and Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS). These are specialized, interest-bearing accounts for HOAs.

Nevertheless, a competent HOA board would not blindly invest the association’s money. Board members should still seek advice from qualified financial professionals familiar with the HOA landscape.


Rising Interest Rates Affect an HOA Greatly

There is a direct relationship between interest rates and an HOA’s finances. While an HOA board may try to keep its fees constant to appease homeowners, economic factors will eventually force their hand.

Clark Simson Miller offers exceptional management solutions to HOAs and condominiums. Call us today at 865.315.7505 or contact us online to get a free proposal!