First quarter 2010 commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations were 12 percent higher than during the same period last year and 26 percent lower than during the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations. "The results of the survey showed changes in commercial and multifamily origination levels varied significantly between investor groups," said Jamie Woodwell, MBA's vice president of commercial real estate research. "However, it's hard to draw conclusions based on first quarter numbers given seasonal effects, such as the industry's usual push to finalize deals before the end of the year, resulting in lower first quarter origination activity. Based on surveys from the Federal Reserve Board and discussions with lenders, there appears to be increasing capital available for commercial mortgages, but only limited demand for new mortgages from commercial and multifamily property investors." Among the key findings in the report are: ►New commercial and multifamily mortgages increased 12 percent from last year's levels. On an absolute level, volumes remain low, with significant variations between investor groups. ►Originations for CMBS conduits and life insurance companies increased dramatically on a percentage basis--coming off of very low bases. ►Originations for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which had remained robust through the credit crisis, fell by almost half. The 12 percent overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending activity during the first quarter was driven by increases in originations for office and retail properties. When compared to the first quarter of 2009, the increase included a 98 percent increase in loans for retail properties, a 29 percent increase in loans for office properties, a five percent decrease in loans for multifamily properties, a 28 percent decrease in loans for industrial properties, a 46 percent decrease in hotel property loans, and a 68 percent decrease in health care property loans. Among investor types, loans for conduits for CMBS saw an increase of 657 percent compared to last year's first quarter. There was also a 131 percent increase in loans for life insurance companies, a four percent decrease in loans for commercial bank portfolios, and the dollar volume of loans for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) saw a decrease of 49 percent. First quarter 2010 mortgage originations were 26 percent lower than originations in the fourth quarter 2009. Among investor types, loans for conduits for CMBS saw an increase in loan volume of 430 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2009, loans for life insurance companies saw an increase in loan volume of one percent compared to the fourth quarter 2009, commercial bank portfolios decreased by 48 percent during the same time span, and originations for GSEs decreased 43 percent from the fourth quarter 2009 to the first quarter 2010. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, first quarter 2010 originations for office properties saw a 29 percent increase. There was an 11 percent decrease for retail properties, a 24 percent decrease for industrial properties, a 37 percent decrease for multifamily properties, a 73 percent decrease for hotel properties, and a 91 percent decrease for health care properties. To view a copy of the MBA's Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations, click here. For more information, visit www.mortgagebankers.org.