There was a very slight decrease in the amount of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding between the end of the fourth quarter 2008 and the end of the first quarter of 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

There is $3.48 trillion outstanding as of March 31, 2009, down by $33 million, according to MBA's analysis of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds data. Multifamily debt outstanding increased by 0.6% to $908 billion.

"Banks, thrifts, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all increased their holdings of commercial and multifamily mortgages during the first quarter, while run-off among CMBS and life company loans decreased those investors' holdings," said Jamie Woodwell, MBA's vice president of commercial real estate research. "The relatively long-term nature of commercial real estate finance has meant greater stability in the levels of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding than is seen among many other types of credit."

Commercial banks hold 45% of the total, followed by private label securitization issuers at 21%, life insurers 9% and thrifts 6%. The government sponsored enterprises hold $191 million of multifamily loans to support securities they issued, plus an additional $154 billion of whole loans.

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