MetLife Inc.’s asset manager said the stable market for real estate financing helped it complete $16 billion in global property transactions last year.
That tally for MetLife Investment Management includes $14 billion in commercial-mortgage originations, bringing the total of such loans managed to a record $57 billion, according to a statement. Last year, the asset manager, known as MIM, also committed to purchasing 25 properties valued at more than $2.1 billion.
MIM was created in 2012 to help oversee assets for third-party investors such as pensions and other insurers as well as MetLife’s money. The unit had a strong year, with continued high interest in real estate from institutional investors as well as Asian buyers in the U.S. market, said Robert Merck, global head of real estate and agriculture at the asset manager.
“There was a decent amount of supply that came on, but with the economy growing, demand pretty much kept up with it,” Merck said in a phone interview. “The real estate market stayed fairly stable during the year.”
The total for commercial-mortgage originations was down from a record $15 billion in 2016. That’s partially because the insurer has focused on doing smaller slices of different types of transactions to get a range of deals for its clients, Merck said.
“It’s a good diversification play,” he said. The strategy will help the insurer “meet the needs of our multiple clients.”