Party like it's 2004?or at least that seems to be the message these days. Multifamily sales volumes in 2008 will probably be around $35 billion, barely a third of the record highs of $90 billion reached in 2007.

"The 2008 sales volume is more in line with what we saw in 2004," said Peter Donovan, senior managing director for multi-housing capital markets at CBRE, during a CBRE client teleconference yesterday.

CBRE closed about $7.5 billion in deals in 2008 after closing $18 billion worth of transactions in 2007. About $3.2 billion of those deals were closed with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which drove about 80 percent of the overall multifamily debt market in 2008.

Donovan and his colleagues also offered a snapshot of what was going on with the key players in the multifamily lending arena. Here's a summary of their observations.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Donovan supports yesterday's announcement by treasury secretary Henry Paulson that the two organizations ultimately best be utilized in a form similar to the public utilities. However, he doesn't think their structure will change anytime soon, despite the Dec. 31, 2009, conservatorship deadline.

"That deadline seems to be a bit arbitrary," Donovan says. "It was put out there to create a sense of urgency. But I don't think anybody believes that the conservatorship is likely to go away by the end of 2009."

Federal Housing Administration

The FHA's multifamily mortgage insurance program is about the only thing out there stimulating construction, according to Donovan. And its terms are pretty good, with interest-only loans through the construction period and loans with 40-year amortization loans afterward. "We have a growing FHA pipeline, particularly as it pertains to seniors' product," Donovan added.

Life insurance companies

These firms are still finalizing their allocations for 2009, but there's a general feeling that they'll be using money to shore up loans already in trouble. Even if they lend, their loan-to-value ratios will be conservative.

National and regional banks

Banks could be entering the space for high-quality loans that were previously bought by insurance companies. They're generally looking for 60 percent to 65 percent leverage. And finally, as for the CMBS market, that's gone and probably never coming back in its past form, Donovan said.