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Top 10 Commercial Real Estate Lenders of 2023
This year’s list of the top 10 commercial lenders highlights lenders which have thrived in the past year, despite rising interest rates and other challenges.
This past year has been a challenging one for borrowers and lenders across the spectrum, whether we’re talking those involved with financing single-family homes or huge, commercial, mixed-use projects.
Interest rates today look nothing like they did even a year ago, and by many accounts they’re likely to increase even further.
Even so, commercial real estate lenders haven’t closed their doors. In fact, many are continuing to grow, despite the headwinds to most CRE sectors.
Our top lenders ranking for 2023 includes originators active across a wide range of assets, from powerhouses like multifamily and industrial buildings to those facing greater challenges, like office real estate and retail properties.
Our Top 10 Commercial Property Lenders of 2023
Cushman & Wakefield
Walker & Dunlop
Metropolis Capital Advisors
HREC Investment Advisors
Part of the larger Pohlad Companies consortium, Northmarq is involved in advisory services spanning debt and equity placement, investment sales, and loan servicing. Founded in 1962, the group today boasts around 30 offices across the country with 600 employees.
According to Commercial Property Executive’s data, the firm originated $25 billion between October of 2021 and September of last year, an annual growth rate just shy of 40%.
9. HREC Investment Advisors
Every lender on our ranking this year is involved in multiple property types — except HREC. Hospitality Real Estate Counselors focuses exclusively on the hospitality sector.
Its narrow focus has played to its advantage: The group originated $371 million in the reporting period, an incredible 71% gain compared to the previous year. Given investor sentiment in the hospitality industry during the pandemic, it’s clear this firm has even further room for growth.
It’s hardly surprising to find Berkadia on our list, especially given it came in first place on our Fannie Mae lender ranking for 2023. Don’t let that mislead you, though: Berkadia is involved in virtually every kind of commercial property type. Just a month before this ranking’s publication, the group closed a $113 million refinance of a Class A office building in Miami.
In 2022, the firm reported $42.6 billion in originations, a 24% gain compared to the same time the previous year. Given the diversity of Berkadia’s portfolio? Rather impressive.
7. Metropolis Capital Advisors
Metropolis Capital Advisors may not be the most well-known firm in the CRE lending business, but they have grown fast: Their 2022 volume of $513 million marks a 74% gain from the previous year.
Metropolis got its start in 2009, founded by Transwestern’s former head of structured finance, Clifford Mendelson. Since its founding, the firm has been involved in the financing, acquisition, or disposition of some $8 billion in CRE properties.
6. Merchants Capital
Merchants Capital, as an agency lender, is primarily involved in multifamily deals, but the firm is also deeply involved with properties that fall into the healthcare sector as well. Its 2022 volume topped $9.7 billion, a massive 71% jump compared to its 2021 figure.
Founded in 1990, the firm acquired a bank 12 years later — today known as Merchants Bank. The company has been highly involved in market-rate and affordable housing finance for years.
5. Walker & Dunlop
Though Walker & Dunlop may be one of the best-known firms in multifamily finance, it also originates loans for a whole range of commercial properties, from office to retail properties. The firm got its start in 1937 — one of the oldest on our list — providing FHA-insured loans to single-family homebuyers.
Today, Walker & Dunlop operates close to 40 offices across the country, employing upwards of 900 employees. In 2022, its reported originations volume was $53.6 billion, a healthy 26% increase over the year.
KeyBank, which placed seventh on our multifamily lender ranking for this year, takes fourth place, due to its hefty originations volume of $58 billion, which is an increase of nearly one-quarter from 2021.
Multifamily finance comprises the bulk of KeyBank’s finance portfolio, but the lender does get involved with the occasional mixed-use, office, retail, and even industrial property.
3. Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield, while perhaps better known for its commercial real estate brokerage and leasing services, lands in third place on our list. It’s not just here for its sizable originations, which neared $30 billion last year. Its growth story is also compelling, with volume up nearly 60% compared to the previous year.
Founded in 1917, Cushman & Wakefield began as a property management company in New York City. Today, the firm is involved in virtually every property sector in major markets across the globe, from Argentina to Vietnam.
The country’s largest brokerage firm lands in second place on our list. CBRE’s originations — at more than $70 billion — exceeded all others on our list, and that marks a 16% increase. While that may not be as swift a jump as most of the others in our ranking, in terms of dollars it’s a massive gain.
Our first-place commercial real estate lender of 2023 is Newmark. It’s easy to see how it took the top spot just from a glance at the numbers. $58.2 billion in commercial loan originations. Not only that, but its growth is exceptional, increasing by 53% year over year.
The firm provides a wide array of commercial property services to virtually every asset type across the country. Services include property management, leasing services, valuation and advisory services, and logistics services — not to mention its capital markets activity.
Are These Truly the Best Lenders?
The short answer is that there’s no single “best” lender for every borrower out there. Every investor has different needs, and while some may have a wider array of services to cater to those needs, they may also come at a higher cost.
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A Quick Note on Methodology
For our ranking, we utilized publicly available data and lists — such as Commercial Property Executive’s annual lender ranking and recorded documents in aggregate from county recorder offices in major metropolitan areas — evaluating each group by its total originations, growth, and loan portfolio diversity.