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Commercial debt rises at fastest pace in seven years

Outstanding commercial and multifamily mortgage debt rose in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace since 2007 as lenders of all types accelerated their loan activity, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Total outstanding debt increased by $48.9 billion to $2.64 trillion in the final three months of the year, MBA reported on Tuesday. That was up 1.9 percent over the third quarter. Total outstanding mortgage debt ended the year $119.5 billion higher than at the end of 2013, an increase of 4.7 percent.

“Led by growth in loans on multifamily properties, banks, GSEs [government sponsored enterprises] and life insurance companies all increased their books of business by more than 5 percent during the year and by more than two percent during the fourth quarter alone,” said MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell in a news release. “Rising property values, improving fundamentals and low interest rates all contributed to the growth.”

Multifamily continues to be the strongest commercial sector. Multifamily debt was up by $60 billion to $964 billion at the end of the year compared to year-end 2013, an increase of 6.6 percent, MBA said. It also rose by nearly $24 billion in the fourth quarter alone.

MBA said commercial banks hold the largest amount of commercial/multifamily mortgages, with $967 billion. However, the federal government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and mortgage backed securities continue to hold the most outstanding multifamily debt, with $412 billion. That represents 43 percent of the total.  


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