Originations of commercial and multifamily loans by mortgage bankers were up 17.3% in the second quarter, compared with those of the second quarter of last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.Originations were also up 23.3% from those of the first quarter, the trade association reported. However, in one sign that the pace of originations may be slowing, the second-quarter volume increase is the smallest in percentage terms on a year-over-year basis since the fourth quarter of 2004, which saw a 9.8% increase. (All quarters since then have seen double-digit percentage gains ranging from 25% to 64% on a year-to-year basis.) "Origination activity remains strong and, while the Federal Reserve has been raising short-term rates, long-term rates have actually been falling recently," noted Doug Duncan, the MBA's chief economist. The largest percentage increase in lending over last year's second quarter was for health care properties, which saw a 177.4% increase. Among investor types, commercial banks and life insurance companies were the most active. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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