Not surprisingly, the biggest single apartment deals in the first half of 2014 occurred in, or near, the nation's largest metros.

Almost all of the top 10 transactions occurred in the so-called “Sexy Six” markets, which includes New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., the Bay Area, Southern California, and Seattle, according to New York-based research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA). The other two sales occurred in and around Chicago, which is, of course, the second largest city in the country and a powerhouse in its own right.

Not surprisingly, New York led the way with four deals, including the largest, The Wellington, which was bought by New York-based O’Connor Capital Partners for $240 million. O’Connor has a track record as a condo converter and The New York Post reported in May that the company wants to turn the 120-unit building into a condo.

Washington, Los Angeles, and Chicago (if you count Grayslake, Ill., which is 40 miles away) each had two sales in the Top 10. That gave the I 95-corridor six of the 10 biggest deals of the first half, which doesn’t surprise Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at RCA.

“The largest institutional investors seem to still be focused on the Washington-to-Boston corridor,” he says.

The one area notably missing from big first half deal flow was San Francisco. With the exception of the 25th largest deal of the first six months of 2014 (542 units bought by Kennedy Wilson) in Pittsburg, Calif., Northern California wasn’t represented at all in RCA’s Top 25.

“I don’t understand why it’s not behaving the same way [as the other Gateway markets],” Thypin says. “There’s not that much institutional product in San Francisco.”

The Top 10 Deals of the First Half

Property City Price (in millions) Units Buyer
The Wellington New York $240 120 O'Connor Capital Partners
The Woodley Washington $195 212 TIAA-CREF
Apex Los Angeles $187 271 UBS
Manhattan Park New York $182.5 1,107 Starrett Corp JV Cohen Brothers Realty
Louis at 14th Washington $176.5 267 TIAA-CREF
Walton on the Park Chicago $160 160  Crescent Heights
Corinthian (Bulk Condo) New York $147 144 Gaia RE Holdings
Pacific Place Los Angeles $143 430 Equity Residential
Saddlebrook Farm Grayslake, Ill. N/A 730 Hometown AM
Nash Building New York $126 191 BLDG Management