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PHILADELPHIA-Net income for locally based RAIT Investment Trust reached $16.4 million during the first quarter of this year, a 17% increase over net income of $14 million for the same quarter a year ago. Total assets rose 8% to $788.7 million, up from $729.5 million in first quarter 2004.

“We’ll continue to pursue the market we know best,” said Betsy Cohen, chairman and CEO, during an earnings conference call. That niche is senior and mezzanine loans in the range of between $5 million and $50 million. Asked how RAIT had avoided the increased competition that has picked up in commercial real estate lending, Cohen said, “We understood that the flow of funds would increase, and we’ve worked hard to increase our network and create additional sourcing for our loans.” She adds that RAIT is looking to “continue to take slightly more market share, which will provide us with a layer of comfort.”

One aspect of the REIT’s consistent strategy, its targeted allocation of investments, changed a bit during the quarter. “Our basic allocation target is 40% multifamily, 40% office, and 20% other,” Cohen said. “We think that’s a good balance for us. It takes into account job creation, which affects both multifamily and office assets.”

In the opening quarter, however, the multifamily proportion of the portfolio rose 4% and accounted for 47% of the total portfolio, while the office proportion rested at 29%, retail at 18%, and other at 6%, reported Scott Schaeffer, president and COO. Imbalances occur from quarter to quarter, he explained, but do not change the company’s overall targeted balance. Geographically, allocations were unchanged, with 35% in the Mid-Atlantic, 30% in Central, 27% in the Southeast, 5% in the West and 3% in the Northeast.

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