Commercial mortgage debt increases in 2Q, despite lockdown slowdown

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Outstanding mortgage debt in the commercial and multifamily sector grew 1.2% during the second quarter, as lenders had varying responses to the coronavirus, both by lender type and property sector, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

"Despite a drop off in new commercial and multifamily mortgage originations in the second quarter, the total amount of mortgage debt outstanding continued to rise," Jamie Woodwell, the MBA's vice president of commercial real estate research, said in a press release. "The pandemic is having different impacts on various property types and capital sources. Loans backed by multifamily properties accounted for almost three-quarters of the total growth, and Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration accounted for nearly three-quarters of that amount."

The future of multifamily lending may not be too bright. In August Freddie Mac projected a fall off of between 20% and 40% in multifamily originations this year. A decline in multifamily housing starts reported in August confirmed the pessimistic Freddie Mac forecast.

Meanwhile, other property types that were the most affected by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, like retail and hotel, could have issues securing new capital as their current loans come due.

As of June 30, $3.76 trillion of all types of commercial loans were outstanding, compared with $3.72 trillion at the end of the first quarter and $3.5 trillion one year ago.

Multifamily loans made up $32 billion of the $43.6 billion increase in outstanding commercial mortgage debt over the first quarter.

Banks hold $1.46 trillion of all commercial and multifamily debt outstanding, up slightly from the first quarter's $1.44 trillion, but its share of the total was practically flat, at 38.8%, down from 38.9%.

Multifamily makes up $474 billion of the bank debt outstanding, up from $468.7 billion in the first quarter. Their share for the segment slipped slightly to 29.5%.

As the second largest investor group, the government-sponsored enterprises and the FHA was the only one that saw its share increase on a quarter-to-quarter basis, benefiting from the rise in multifamily debt. Agency debt outstanding grew to $774.6 billion from $751.6 billion at the end of the first quarter, while the share increased to 20.6% from 20.2%.

All of the GSE/FHA outstanding debt is secured by multifamily properties, and in that segment they hold a 48.2% market share, up from 47.7% in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, real estate investment trusts were the only investor group to see a decline in the amount of total commercial and multifamily debt they held compared with the first quarter, down by $2.8 billion to $89.4 billion. This group held just 0.3% of all outstanding multifamily debt for both the first and second quarters.

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Commercial mortgages Multifamily Commercial real estate lending Mortgage Bankers Association GSEs FHA CMBS Coronavirus Fannie Mae Freddie Mac