WHILE FANNIE MAE and Freddie Mac continue to win the bulk of multifamily business, other capital sources are growing more competitive.

Conduits were quoting 5.5 percent rates on 10-year deals and closer to 5 percent on lower leverage transactions in the fall. That's about 150 basis points (bps) lower than what was being offered in early June. Yet, it's still 100 bps more than what the GSEs were offering. “Realistically, no conduit is going to be anywhere close to being competitive with Fannie or Freddie at this point,” says John Cannon, executive vice president at Horsham, Pa.-based Berkadia Commercial Mortgage.

But the growing pace of activity points to a recovery. And many lenders, including Berkadia and CWCapital, are now hoping to create their own conduit platforms again.

It's a similar story on the life insurance side. The biggest life companies, such as Prudential, MetLife, and New York Life, are growing more active each passing month but are focused on large loan sizes, above $15 million. And the leverage levels being offered are mostly in the 60 percent to 65 percent range. There's enough momentum in that space that CWCapital is thinking of soon starting a life insurance company platform.

And for short-term floating-rate loans, banks are starting to heat up again, lenders and brokers report. Some of the most competitive offerings these days are coming from Canadian banks with footprints in America, such as CIBC and Toronto Dominium.