June 13 (Reuters) - The amount of U.S. commercial real estate loans outstanding topped $3 trillion for the first time ever at the end of the first quarter of 2017, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Tuesday.
Commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose by $37.6 billion to $3.01 trillion in the first quarter, a 1.3 percent gain from the fourth quarter of 2016, the Washington-based industry group said.
“Almost two-thirds of the growth came from increases in multifamily mortgage debt outstanding," MBA's vice president of commercial real estate research Jamie Woodwell said in a statement.
Mortgages on apartment buildings rose by $23.4 billion, or 2 percent, to $1.17 trillion in the first quarter from the preceding quarter, MBA said.
It was unclear whether the apartment loan growth would persist in the coming months. Government data showed multifamily construction fell for a fourth straight month in April to an annualized rate of 337,000 units. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)