Commercial property activity has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak real estate industry since the recession began, and this continued during the course of 2011.
Last year, public property records show multifamily lending surged 60 percent on an annual basis, to a total of $110 billion, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. The majority of activity took place with apartment buildings with five or more units.
"The $110 billion of borrowing and lending backed by multifamily apartment buildings in 2011 was more than double the amount of just two years earlier," said MBA vice president of commercial real estate research Jamie Woodwell.
This gain is a testament to the overall strength of multifamily property as well as capital markets, Woodwell added. Units in apartment building are often more affordable than single-family properties and provide options for buyers will weak financial histories, which may have contributed to the heightened activity in 2011.
However, a decline in the apartment absorption rate during the third quarter this year could be an indicator that the multifamily sector is cooling off.