Mortgage banking firm Gantry closed a record number of mortgage transactions in 2020. The firm closed 411 total deals, the first time in the company’s history that it closed more than 400 transactions in a single year. The deals totaled $3 billion.
Deal activity was especially strong in the fourth quarter, with more than 124 transactions closed totaling $1 billion. The quarter was also the strongest in the firm’s 30-year history. “Our second and third quarters were not strong by historical standards because it was difficult to underwrite many properties that were impacted by COVID and too few lenders were willing to issue commitments. However, many of our correspondent lenders tried to make up ground in the fourth quarter because the capital was available to deploy at many of these organizations,” Mike Heagerty, principal and chief financial officer at Gantry, tell GlobeSt.com. “They are well capitalized and often paired with investment partners who also need capital invested.”
In addition, Heagerty says that investors favored to real estate for its stability during the pandemic, helping to drive investment activity and deal volume. “The investment decision-makers saw value relative to other investments in their portfolio so they moved quickly when the opportunities and underwriting started to stabilize in the fourth quarter,” he says.
Gantry was able to produce such strong deal flow because of its relationships with capital partners, according to Heagerty. These lenders continued to lend throughout the pandemic, and many closed deals with Gantry each month. “There are few lenders on record as having committed and closed loans in every month of 2020,” says Heagerty. “Most of our lenders may not have hit the original allocation goals projected in January 2020, but several closed on their commitments and underwrote new loans even during the most difficult times.”
This year, Gantry expects to see a similar enthusiasm for mortgage lending activity. “We hope that 2021 lending volumes will be more consistent throughout the year. The commitments for the first quarter are strong so we expect the first half of the year will be better than 2020 particularly as the vaccine rolls out and shelter in place and social distancing orders are lifted,” says Heagerty. “Many of our core lenders who missed their 2020 goals have been directed by management already to deploy capital at a 2019 pace, or in other words, significantly above 2020′s placements.”