First quarter loan originations for commercial and multifamily properties were down by 15% compared with the fourth quarter of 2006. However, compared with the same period last year, originations actually skyrocketed by 37% across all property types, according to The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) quarterly survey.

"Increases in total commercial/multifamily mortgage originations were led by increases in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) conduit loans and loans financing office properties," said Jamie Woodwell, MBA's senior director of commercial/multifamily research. "The strong first quarter included heavy volume driven by real estate investment trusts (REIT) privatizations and continues a trend of first quarter-over-first quarter increases going back to the beginning of MBA's survey which was first released in 2001."

The large increase in commercial lending was driven by increases in originations for all property types. Broken down, the overall increase include a 64% rise in loans for health care properties, a 62 % increase in loans for office properties, a 37% increase in hotel properties, 26% increase in multifamily, 25% in retail properties, and a 14% increase in loans for industrial properties.