Commercial and multifamily mortgage bankers enjoyed a record year in 2004, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association."Everything was up," MBA chief economist Doug Duncan said at the group's Commercial Real Estate/Multi-Family Finance Conference in San Diego. And with little on the horizon to slow investment real estate, Mr. Duncan expects "more of the same" for 2005 – or at least very close to it. For 2004, mortgage bankers originated $136 billion in commercial and apartment mortgages, a 16% increase from $117 billion the year before, with fourth quarter production topping all others in the MBA's quarterly survey. The October-November-December total was $42.7 billion, $7.1 billion better than third quarter 2004 volume and $3.8 billion above the same period last year. The big jump reflected the usual push to close deals by the end of the year, with "widespread gains" across all property and investor types, the MBA said. The increases in last year's volumes were across all sectors, too. But Fannie Mae and FHA multi-family investors registered declines, the only investor-types to do so. "By any measure, our industry had a great year," said MBA chairman Michael Petrie. "We're flush with capital. We outperformed other asset classes, and we've earned a permanent place in institutional asset allocation models."

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