Lenders Expect Strong Demand, Loan Volume in 2016

Real Estate In-Depth | January 2016

WASHINGTON—Commercial and multifamily mortgage lending is expected to increase in 2016, as lenders’ and borrowers’ appetites for new loans remain strong, according to a new Mortgage Bankers Association survey of the top commercial and multifamily mortgage origination firms.

A full 9% of the top firms expect originations to increase in 2016, with 50% expecting an increase of 5% or more, and almost two-thirds (61%) expecting their own firm’s originations to increase by 5% or more, according to the survey released on Jan. 7.

“Commercial mortgage lenders anticipate another competitive year in 2016, as lender desire to make loans remains strong,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President for Commercial Real Estate Research. “With strong market fundamentals and the 10-year loans made during 2006 and 2007 maturing this year and next, lenders also anticipate strong demand from borrowers.”

Lenders, Borrowers Eager To Make, Take Out Loans

Among the survey’s key findings included the fact that lenders are eager to make loans. 61% of originators reported that in 2015 lenders had a “very strong” appetite to make new loans. 58% expect lenders’ 2016 appetite to be “very strong”.

Borrowers are eager to take out loans. A total of 52% of originators reported that in 2015 borrowers had a “very strong” appetite to take out new loans. 45% expect borrowers’ 2016 appetite to be “very strong”.

The survey reported that 65% of originators indicated that in 2015 their own firm had a “very strong” appetite to make new loans. The same share (65%) expect their own firm’s 2016 appetite to be “very strong”.

In 2016, lenders and borrowers are expected to maintain strong appetites. A full 97% of originators expect lenders to have a “strong” or “very strong” appetite to make new loans in 2016 (58% “very strong”, 39% “strong”). Also, 100% of originators expect borrowers to have a “strong” or “very strong” appetite to take out new loans in 2016 (45% “very strong”, 55% “strong”).

Originators expect the market to grow at a strong pace in 2016. Half of respondents (50%) expect total market originations to increase 5% or more in 2016. Almost two-thirds (61%) expect their own originations to increase by 5% or more.

Loans for all major investor groups are expected to increase in 2016, with CMBS seeing the fastest growth. Originations are expected to increase for commercial mortgage-backed securities (64% anticipate growth), pension/life insurance companies (48% anticipate growth), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (43% anticipate growth), bank portfolios (41% anticipate growth), and for FHA (27% anticipate growth).

Loan returns are expected to moderate in 2016. Half of respondents (52%) characterized the loans made in 2015 as “somewhat” or “very low” return. Less than one-third (30%) expect loans to be “somewhat” or “very low” return in 2016.

Loan risk is expected to tick up slightly in 2016. Most respondents characterized the loans made in 2015 and expected in 2016 as “medium” risk (52% for each year). In 2016, more respondents expect loans to be “somewhat high” or “high” risk (41% in 2016 versus 31% in 2015).

The 2016 MBA CREF Outlook Survey was conducted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, 2015. The survey request was sent to leaders at 60 of the top commercial/multifamily mortgage origination firms, as determined by MBA’s 2013 Annual Origination Rankings Report.