Survey: Most multifamily mortgage originators expect another record year in 2019

MBA survey shows originators see more sunshine in the future

A new survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that commercial and multifamily mortgage originators expect lending to continue setting records in 2019.

The most recent data from the MBA showed that commercial and multifamily lending hit an all-time high in 2017, and the MBA’s latest forecast suggested that 2018 would likely be another record year for commercial and multifamily mortgage lending.

And a newly released survey of commercial and multifamily originators shows that most firms expect to see lending rise again in 2019.

According to the MBA’s 2019 Commercial Real Estate Finance Outlook Survey, more than half of the top commercial/multifamily originators (55%, to be exact) expect originations to increase in 2019, with 13% expecting to see an overall increase of 5% percent or more across the entire market.

Asked about their own firm’s expectations for originations in 2019, approximately 38% say they expect their firm’s originations to rise by 5% or more this year.

“Mortgage bankers look to 2019 as another strong year for the commercial and multifamily mortgage markets,” MBA Vice President for Research and Economics Jamie Woodwell said. “The majority of top firms expect that strong appetites from both lenders and borrowers will drive commercial mortgage originations higher.”

According to Woodwell, there are a number of headwinds that could impede lending growth this year, namely long-term interest rates, new construction activity, and the economy as a whole.

Those factors led to a decrease in the share originators who think lending will rise in 2019 compared to those who thought it would rise in 2018 in last year’s version of this survey.

But despite that decline, Woodwell said that “only two in five expect commercial and multifamily mortgage originations to slow this year, and only one-in-twenty expect their own firm’s loan volume to decline.”

According to the MBA, the survey also showed the following:

  • Lenders remain eager to make loans: All surveyed originators reported that in 2018, lenders had a “strong” or “very strong” appetite to make new loans, and all expect lenders' appetite this year to be “strong” or “very strong.”
  • Borrowers are still eager to take out loans: 88% of originators reported that borrowers had “strong” or “very strong” appetites to take out new loans last year, and 78% expect borrowers’ appetites this year to be “strong” or “very strong”
  • Nearly all originators (97%) reported their own firm had a “strong” or “very strong” appetite to make new loans last year. A similar share (91%) expect their own firm’s appetite to be “strong” or “very strong” in 2019

The MBA survey took place between Nov. 26 and Dec. 22, 2018. The survey request was sent to leaders of 60 of the top commercial/multifamily mortgage origination firms, as determined by the MBA’s 2018 Annual Origination Rankings Report. The survey had a response rate of 50%, meaning the survey results are based on half of the top 60 originators.

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