In 2015, the multifamily market saw one of its best acquisition years ever, with $152 billion in deal volume. 2016 was on a similar pace through the end of November, according to New York–based commercial real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA).
“We’ve seen some softening in equity markets,” says Jim Costello, senior vice president at RCA. “[Deal volume] is still at an elevated level.”
But others are seeing a falloff in the market. “It’s harder to find equity than it was a year ago,” says Robert Lee, president and COO of Los Angeles–based JRK Property Holdings. “For the big institutional funds and the household names, the fund-raising environment is great. For people who are starting to establish a track record or don’t have one, that fund-raising environment is much more difficult.”
But, as Costello points out, the market is still, in historical terms, in very good shape. Part of that appetite is fed by foreign investors.
“With low and negative interest rates around the globe, people are looking more for yield and safe, solid, stable returns,” says David Brickman, executive vice president and head of multifamily business at Freddie Mac. “I think they’re seeing that in the U.S. But the bulk of the capital is coming from the U.S. pension funds, endowments, life companies, and other institutions. There’s still a lot of capital that’s looking [for apartments].”