WASHINGTON — Commercial mortgage bankers originated more than 1,500 loans with an average size of $7.3 million in the first quarter, according to a new quarterly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Lenders made $11.2 billion of loans in the first quarter, a 5.3% decline from the year earlier.

In comparing the two quarters, the MBA used a sampling of 53 of the 55 commercial lenders that responded to questions about this year, as some companies were unable to supply figures for last year.

The smaller sampling showed that volume at lenders originating more than $1 billion a year declined 12.7% from the first quarter last year and that companies originating less than $300 million experienced a 9.9% decline. However, originations rose 28.4% for companies originating between $300 million and $1 billion.

Multifamily properties accounted for the largest share of first-quarter commercial loans originated this year, at 46%. Loans for office building properties accounted for 26.4%.

The MBA said that conduits, firms specializing in matching lenders with investors, made the most commercial loan commitments this year, at 29%. Life insurance companies followed, committing to 25.3%, and commercial banks committed to 10.6%.

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