Commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose 2.9% to surpass $2.7 trillion in the first quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.Multifamily mortgage debt stood at $690 billion at the end of the first quarter, up 2.3% from the level at the end of 2005, the MBA reported, citing Federal Reserve Board flow-of-funds data. Commercial banks hold the largest share of commercial/multifamily mortgages, with nearly $1.2 trillion (43% of the total), the MBA said. (The category includes "commercial and industrial" loans that have commercial property as collateral.) Issuers of commercial mortgage-backed securities hold $577 billion (21%) of the total, followed by life insurance companies, which hold $269 billion (10%), the MBA reported. Savings institutions hold $202 billion (7%), and government-sponsored enterprises hold $132 billion in the form of multifamily mortgages that back the securities they issue and also hold $66 billion of whole loans in their own portfolios, for a total share of 7%. "Nearly every investor group continues to expand their investments in commercial and multifamily mortgages," said Doug Duncan, the MBA's chief economist. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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