Commercial and multifamily mortgage originations surged in 2003 to a record $116 billion, up more than a third from $86.4 billion the year before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.The total of $37.9 billion in commercial/MF originations for the fourth quarter also set a quarterly record, and was $7.9 billion above the volume recorded a year earlier, the MBA reported. "The combination of the strong relative value of real estate as an investment, plentiful capital, continued low interest rates, and the quickened pace of the economy's recovery fueled loan demand," said Douglas Duncan, the MBA's chief economist and senior vice president for research and business development. "The commercial real estate finance business should remain strong as we enter 2004, given our forecast of continued solid economic growth and moderate increases in credit costs." The MBA said the increase in commercial/MF volume last year was recorded across all property and investor types.

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