The year has started off quietly, but since the conclusion of the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association's CMBS Investors Conference on Tuesday last week, there is one marquee deal making the rounds. The first out of the gate appears to be the TOP-9 issue from MSDW and friends. The "T"ier "O"ne "P"aper program has been rather successful and is considered to be a benchmark-type issue for the market.

Spreads have been inching tighter since the beginning of the year, boosted by a return of investors from the CMSA conference held in Florida and an overall ongoing interest in this type of collateral. The big difference in 2003 will be added scrutiny of collateral, with particular focus on the lagging economic sectors such as office space. Currently, secondary triple-A 10-year spreads are at 46 basis points over.

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