Commercial and multifamily mortgage bankers' loan originations were strong in the first quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations.While down from the fourth quarter of last year, first-quarter originations were up 37% compared to the same period last year. "Increases in total commercial/multifamily mortgage originations were led by increases in commercial mortgage-backed securities conduit loans and loans financing office properties," said Jamie Woodwell, MBA's senior director of commercial/multifamily research. The increase in lending activity was driven by increases in originations for all property types. When compared to the first quarter of 2006, the overall increase included a 64% increase in loans for health care properties, a 62% increase in loans for office properties, a 37% increase in loans for hotel properties, 26% increase in loans for multifamily, 25% increase in loans for retail properties and a 14% increase in loans for industrial properties. First-quarter 2007 mortgage bankers' originations were 15% lower than originations in the fourth quarter of 2006, reflecting the industry's usual push to finalize deals before the end of the year, and the traditional and subsequent drop-offs in first quarter numbers. First quarter numbers show decreases in all property types except hotel.

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