Commercial originations down 14% annually in 2021’s Q1

Commercial and multifamily mortgage originations fell 14% annually during the first quarter of 2021, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, hotels continued to show the most weakness among property types in the first quarter. Hotel originations were down 82% year over year, leading all property types. Retail (down 45%) and office (-34%) lending also saw an annual decline in the year’s first three months, with multifamily (-5%) posting a slight drop.

Originations in the health care (up 5%) and industrial (66%) sectors saw a year-over-year increase.

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“Borrowing and lending backed by commercial and multifamily properties was lower than last year’s first quarter, but the 14 percent decline was smaller than the year-over-year drops seen at the height of the pandemic-induced economic slowdown,” said Jamie Woodwell, the MBA’s vice president of commercial real estate research.

“Industrial and multifamily properties continue to attract the greatest interest, and retail and hotels saw the largest declines. As the economic recovery and re-opening speeds up, investors and lenders should have greater clarity into which pandemic-led changes are temporary, and which are more permanent.”

On a quarterly basis, originations fell 37% from the last three months of 2020 to the first three months of 2021, though the dip was expected since declines between the fourth quarter of one year and the opening quarter of the next are typical due to seasonality.


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