After a record-setting 2014, apartment transactions hit new, lofty highs in 2015 as volume jumped 32%, to $150 billion, according to a new report from New York–based Real Capital Analytics (RCA).
Strong sales of individual assets drove the increase in volume for the apartment sector as a whole in 2015, according to the report.
The $5.3 billion Stuyvesant Town transaction was counted as an individual sale. But even without the mammoth deal, individual volume would still be up 22%.
“This growth in single asset sales is significant, as it indicates ongoing confidence in the sector by a broad base of investors year over year,” RCA said in the report.
RCA says all apartment subtypes and deal structures saw double-digit growth in 2015. Garden apartments rose 38% year over year, to $98 billion, while mid- and high-rise sales came in at $52 billion for the year.
For garden units, the sale of individual assets was up 28% year over year, at $70 billion in deal volume, and portfolio- and entity-level transactions grew at a 69% year-over-year pace. In the mid- and high-rise space, single-asset sales increased 26% year over year, while large deals increased 13%.
Despite a strong year overall, apartment sales did slow in the second half of 2015, coming in at 25%, compared with first-half growth of 43%. Across commercial real estate, all sectors saw a sluggish second half, with volume even dropping, in some cases.
After volume fell 15% in November, it rose again—hitting 54% year over year, to $21.6 billion—in December. “Granted, $5.3 billion of the deal volume in December came from the Stuyvesant Town transaction,” RCA wrote. “Even without this deal, though, volume would have been up 16% year over year in December.”
The growth of volume throughout the year was impressive considering that values continued to rise, according to RCA. But it warns that things could be starting to slow.
“Initial estimates of the Moody’s/RCA CPPITM suggest that prices increased 13% year over year,” RCA wrote. “This growth is not bad, but it is the weakest year of price growth since 2010. With cap rates for the highest-quality assets seeming to hit a floor, price growth is beginning to moderate."