MPA spoke to Bergman for details. He said the record speaks to the company’s “never-ending” drive to find the right lender for any asset category. “We have, over the years, been a shop that has a very deep knowledge of real estate,” Bergman said. “We have a phenomenal staff that knows every commercial asset type. And we did have a heavy focus this year on doing deals that were real value add to the client,” he added, noting the company’s penchant for larger, complicated deals in a variety of sectors – healthcare, hospitality, mobile home parks and self-storage among them. “We’re seeing our book of business really expand in those areas.”

Fourth quarter proved especially challenging

There was some measure of rolling with the punches in light of market volatility, with the latter part of the year slowing down, he said. “Definitely the first three quarters of the year were more active, and some fluctuation toward the end of the year made people hold off a little bit,” he said. “But we’ve been able to not just expand in depth, but in width as well.”

Which isn’t to say that the last quarter wasn’t a doozy: “Definitely toward the end of the year, it’s no secret interest rates went up a lot and that created some friction on some deals where somebody goes into contract on a deal under certain assumptions expecting a certain level of financing, and the deal become more challenging,” Bergman said. “Overall, total transactions in the market definitely slowed down toward the end of the year. We monitor our numbers a lot and look at the percentage of deals we work on and percentages that close, and we haven’t seen a significant change in that.”

Challenges enhanced in the last quarter necessitated a nimble approach, he suggested: “That required a lot of maneuvering. And if a lender dropped out, finding a new lender to do it. If a deal needed a creative structure to it, we thought outside the box. That is a reality of the market right now.”

Retail makes a comeback

Emerging as a “pleasant surprise” was a resurgence in the retail sector, he noted: “To a certain degree, retail has become less challenging,” Bergman said. “Retail over the last couple of years has definitely been more of a challenge, but we did find, interestingly enough, it’s starting to come full circle. Even though people got a little bit nervous over retail, people have gotten into it.”