The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Databook shows that the volume of retail loans rose significantly in the fourth quarter of 2010, making it the most active quarter since the third quarter of 2008.

For all property types, the MBA’s originations index reached 114 — up significantly from the 70 it posted in the third quarter of 2010 and the highest quarterly reading the association has measured since the third quarter of 2008. It also marks the first time since 2008 that the originations index has exceeded 100 — which equates to the volume of an average quarter in 2001.)

The picture was even brighter for retail properties. The MBA’s origination index on retail hit 184 in the quarter—up from a reading of 84 in the third quarter and nearly identical to the third quarter of 2008, when the index came in at 185. The reading broke a string of eight straight quarters during which the retail originations index was less than 100.

When compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, the increase included a 170% increase in loans for office properties, a 169% increase in loans for hotel properties, a 98% increase in loans for industrial properties, a 94% increase in loans for retail properties, an 81% increase in multifamily property loans, and a 4% increase in health care property loans.

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