Outstanding commercial and multifamily debt levels increased at a record speed in 2006, reports the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Using the most recent Federal Reserve Beige Book data, the MBA calculated approximate debt levels between various industry groups.

The Washington, D.C.-based trade association announced on Tuesday that combined commercial and multifamily mortgage debt increased by 12.7% last year to $2.95 trillion — a record volume.

Of that total percentage increase, REIT holdings of such debt increased the most at 36% in 2006. Meanwhile commercial banks continued to hold the largest chunk — or 44% — of all commercial and multifamily mortgages during 2006.

Ranking as the second-biggest holders were asset-backed securities pools such as commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, with 21% of the total, followed by life insurance firms (10%) and savings institutions (7%).