Multifamily and commercial mortgage lending is set to see a decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new forecast from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The MBA anticipates commercial and mortgage bankers to close $248 billion of loans backed by income-producing properties this year, a 59% drop from 2019’s record volume of $601 billion.

For total multifamily lending, which includes some loans made by small and midsize banks not captured in the overall total, the forecast expects a 42% decrease to $213 billion from 2019’s record total of $364 billion. However, MBA does anticipate a partial rebound in lending volumes in 2021, predicting activity will rise to $390 billion in commercial and multifamily mortgage banker originations and $308 billion in total multifamily lending.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt commercial and multifamily real estate markets. Forecasting amidst the social and economic responses to the virus is difficult, but we do expect originations to drop significant this year before making a sharp, partial rebound in 2021,” said MBA vice president of commercial real estate research Jamie Woodwell. “The multifamily sector has held up quite well so far, with federal government stimulus efforts for the unemployed helping renters make their rent payments. Should such support continue as the economy rebounds, the apartment market will likely remain relatively balance