The multifamily deal pace slowed to crawl in the third and fourth quarters of 2007. And things haven't picked up dramatically in the first quarter, observers say. “Historically, January isn't always a strong month,” says Dan Fasulo, managing director for Real Capital Analytics, a New York City-based firm that tracks real estate transactions. “Activity has certainly slowed down versus last year.”

Fasulo attributes this slowdown to the gap between what buyers expect and what owners want for their properties. While that's halted brought many smaller deals, it hasn't stopped large portfolio transactions involving REITs. “REITs are trading off of their highs,” Fasulo says. “You're seeing more strategic types of acquisitions and more mergers between REITs to try to strengthen their positions.”

Here's a brief rundown of three major deals announced in early 2008:

  • An affiliate of Philadelphia-based BPG Properties bought the Boston Capital REIT. BPG will fold the 11 apartment properties, consisting of 3,098 units located in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Florida, and Texas, into its existing its portfolio of 25,000 apartment units in more than 100 communities throughout the U.S.