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Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding Increases for Fourth Straight Quarter

WASHINGTON, DC – December 12, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased by $6.6 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the third quarter of 2012, as three of the four major investor groups increased their holdings, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The $2.38 trillion in outstanding commercial/multifamily mortgage debt was $6.6 billion higher than the second quarter 2012 figure. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $825 billion, an increase of $12.1 billion or 1.5 percent from the second quarter of 2012.

“The overall amount of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt continues to grow,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research.  “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, life insurance companies and banks are all increasing their holdings and/or guarantees of commercial and multifamily mortgages.  And for the fourth quarter in a row, the net increase by these and other investor groups has outpaced a decline in the balance of commercial and multifamily mortgages held in commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS).”

The analysis summarizes the holdings of loans or, if the loans are securitized, the form of the security. For example, many life insurance companies invest both in whole loans for which they hold the mortgage note (and which appear in this data under Life Insurance Companies) and in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other asset backed securities (ABS) for which the security issuers and trustees hold the note (and which appear here under CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues).

MBA recently improved its reporting of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding.  The new reporting excludes two categories of loans that had formerly been included – loans for acquisition, development and construction and loans collateralized by owner-occupied commercial properties.  By excluding these loan types, the analysis here more accurately reflects the balance of loans supported by office buildings, retail centers, apartment buildings and other income-producing properties that rely on rents and leases to make their payments.

Commercial banks continue to hold the largest share of commercial/multifamily mortgages, $819 billion, or 34 percent of the total.

CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues are the second largest holders of commercial/multifamily mortgages, holding $562 billion, or 24 percent of the total. Agency/GSE portfolios and MBS hold $369 billion, or 16 percent of the total, and life insurance companies hold $323 billion, or 14 percent of the total. Many life insurance companies, banks and the GSEs purchase and hold CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues.  These loans appear in the “CMBS, CDO and other ABS” category.


Looking solely at multifamily mortgages, agency and GSE portfolios and MBS hold the largest share, with $369 billion, or 45 percent of the total multifamily debt outstanding.  They are followed by banks and thrifts with $228 billion, or 28 percent of the total.  CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues hold $74 billion, or 9 percent of the total; state and local governments hold $65 billion, or 8 percent of the total; life insurance companies hold $51 billion, or 6 percent of the total; and the federal government holds $14 billion, or 2 percent of the total.


In the third quarter of 2012, agency and GSE portfolios and MBS saw the largest increase in dollar terms in their holdings of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt – an increase of $9.4 billion, or 2.6 percent.  Banks and thrifts increased their holdings of commercial/multifamily mortgages by $4.4 billion, or 0.5 percent.  CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues saw the largest decrease of $9.5 billion, or 1.7 percent.

In percentage terms, REITs saw the largest increase in their holdings of commercial/multifamily mortgages, an increase of 3.5 percent.  The household sector saw their holdings decrease 16.6 percent.


The $12.1 billion increase in multifamily mortgage debt outstanding between the second and third quarter of 2012 represents a 1.5 percent increase.  In dollar terms, agency and GSE portfolios and MBS saw the largest increase in their holdings of multifamily mortgage debt, an increase of $9.4 billion, or 2.6 percent.  Commercial banks increased their holdings of multifamily mortgage debt by $3.3 billion, or 1.4 percent.  State and local government increased by $1.6 billion, or 2.5 percent.  CMBS, CDO, and other ABS issues saw the biggest decline in their holdings of multifamily mortgage debt, by $2.5 billion or 3.2 percent.

In percentage terms, private pension funds recorded the largest increase in holdings of multifamily mortgages, at 8.2 percent.  Finance companies saw the biggest decrease, at 7.9 percent.

MBA’s analysis is based on data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Flow of Funds Account of the United States and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Quarterly Banking Profile. More information on the construction of this data series is contained in Appendix A in the report.

Click here for a copy of the report.


The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,200 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA’s Web site: