2022 Q1 Quarterly Databook

July 7, 2022 Jamie Woodwell; Reggie Booker

 

PROPERTY FUNDAMENTALS

Over the last two years, the COVID-19 Pandemic affected different property types in very different ways.  In the first quarter of 2022, those changes continue to drive each property type in in its own direction.

The U.S. housing market is essentially full, which has pushed vacancy rates for home-ownership units to all-time lows and for rental properties to levels that haven’t been seen since the mid-1980s.  This has pushed rents higher even as we have the most multifamily units under construction since the mid-1970s.   Industrial markets are similarly on a roll.  Amazon recently announced that they have excess space and will be returning some to the market, but tight occupancy and recent rent increases imply that industrial space remains in high demand.  Retail property performance varies significantly by geographic market and sub-property type while office markets continue to work through questions about the degree to which hybrid work will and won’t change the overall demand for space.

PROPERTY SALES

Property sales were strong in the first quarter, up 60 percent from the first quarter of 2021, with increases in every major property type.  Q1 sales of apartment ($63 billion, up 56 percent from a year earlier) and industrial ($34 billion, up 50 percent) remained robust while office ($35 billion, up 59 percent) and retail ($19 billion, up 102 percent) bounced back from pandemic-driven declines.

Through the first quarter, property values increased impressively.  In May, industrial property values were up 29 percent over the previous 12 months, multifamily values were up 23 percent, retail up 19 percent and office 12 percent.

Future months’ data will show the degree to which recent increases in interest rates, declines in broader equity values, recession concerns and other factors do (or don’t) affect cap rates and property values.

MORTGAGE LENDING

Improving property fundamentals and strong price appreciation drove borrowing and lending backed by commercial and multifamily properties to new highs in 2021, with strong activity from every capital source. Lending was 48 percent higher than any previous annual total for industrial properties, and 31 percent higher for multifamily properties. Despite bounce-backs from low 2020 volumes, lending for other major property types remained below previous highs.

Multifamily properties saw the highest volume of mortgage bankers’ origination volume last year at $376 billion, followed by office buildings, industrial properties, retail, hotel/motel, and health care. First liens accounted for 94 percent of the total dollar volume closed.

Depositories were the leading capital source for mortgage banker originated loans in 2021, responsible for $157 billion of the total. Private label CMBS saw the second-highest volume at $141 billion, followed by government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), life insurance companies and pension funds, and investor-driven lenders.

The strong momentum in commercial and multifamily borrowing and lending at the end of 2021 carried into the first quarter. The continued growth in lending activity is the result of the ongoing strong demand for certain property types like industrial and multifamily, as well as renewed interest in other property types that saw more dramatic declines during the early stages of the pandemic, such as hotel and retail.  It’s likely that the rise in interest rates will take some wind out of the sails of borrowing in upcoming quarters, but strong market fundamentals, property values and investor interest should continue to support the market.

Compared to a year earlier, a rise in originations for hotel, industrial, and retail properties led the overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volumes. By property type, hotels increased by 359 percent, industrial increased by 145 percent, retail increased by 88 percent, health care properties increased by 81 percent, multifamily increase by 57 percent, and office increased 30 percent.

Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans originated for depositories increased by 194 percent year-over-year. Life insurance company portfolios increased 81 percent, investor-driven lenders increased 77 percent, Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) increased 56 percent, and Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) increased 1 percent.

MORTGAGE DEBT OUTSTANDING

Driven by record-high originations for a first quarter, the amount of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding climbed to a new high at the end of March 2022. Depositories and life insurance companies were behind the majority of the growth, and multifamily mortgage debt continued to rise at a solid level.  The recent run-up in interest rates and drop in broader equity values will without a doubt affect commercial and multifamily markets in the coming quarters, but the relatively strong market fundamentals for most property classes should serve as a stabilizing force.

Total commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $4.25 trillion at the end of the first quarter, an increase of $74.2 billion (1.8 percent). Multifamily mortgage debt alone increased $37.4 billion (2.1 percent) to $1.8 trillion from the fourth quarter of 2021.

In the first quarter, commercial banks saw the largest gains in dollar terms in their holdings of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt – an increase of $37.7 billion (2.4 percent). Life insurance companies increased their holdings by $14.9 billion (2.4 percent), agency an GSE portfolios and MBS increased their holdings by $9.5 billion (1.1 percent), and REITs increased their holdings by $9.3 billion (7.3 percent).

The 37.4 billion increase in multifamily mortgage debt outstanding from the fourth quarter of 2021 represents a quarterly gain of 2.1 percent. In dollar terms, commercial banks saw the largest gain – $16.5 billion (3.2 percent) – in their holdings of multifamily mortgage debt. Agency and GSE portfolios and MBS increased their holdings by $9.5 billion (1.1 percent), and CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues increased by $7.7 billion (12.0 percent).

LOAN PERFORMANCE

Commercial and multifamily mortgage delinquency rates that were elevated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to come down during the first quarter of 2022. Given the strength in market fundamentals and valuations for most property types, delinquency rates are at the lower end of their historical range for most major capital sources.

Based on the unpaid principal balance (UPB) of loans, delinquency rates for each group at the end of the first quarter of 2022 were as follows:

  • Banks and thrifts (90 or more days delinquent or in non-accrual): 0.56 percent, a decrease of 0.03 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2021;
  • Life company portfolios (60 or more days delinquent): 0.05 percent, an increase of 0.01 percentage points from the fourth quarter;
  • Fannie Mae (60 or more days delinquent): 0.38 percent, a decrease of 0.04 percentage points from the fourth quarter;
  • Freddie Mac (60 or more days delinquent): 0.08 percent, unchanged from the fourth quarter; and
  • CMBS (30 or more days delinquent or in REO): 3.36 percent, a decrease of 0.66 percentage points from the fourth quarter.

MBA’s analysis incorporates the measures used by each individual investor group to track the performance of their loans. Because each investor group tracks delinquencies in its own way, delinquency rates are not comparable from one group to another. As just one example, Fannie Mae reports loans receiving payment forbearance as delinquent, while Freddie Mac excludes those loans if the borrower is in compliance with the forbearance agreement.