Southern California will be teeming with more than 4,600 commercial real estate bankers and dealmakers when the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) holds its 17th annual Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing conference at San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt next week. MBA reports that a record crowd will attend the three-day conference, which will feature a keynote address by former president George H.W. Bush. Sessions and panel discussions covering most aspects of this $32 trillion industry will also be held.

One big question that’s likely to be addressed at the conference is whether or not the 2007 financing market will be as robust as 2006. Last year brought a string of billion dollar deals, each one seemingly larger than the next. 2006 also recorded the largest apartment sale in U.S. history when Manhattan rental complex Peter Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village fetched $5.6 billion. Torrid deal making of that magnitude has spurred heavy demand for financing, but it has also raised questions about underwriting smart deals in such a competitive climate.