On the apartment REITs’ recently completed earnings releases and calls, only one company really dipped its toe in the water with estimates for 2015. But that company, Chicago-based Equity Residential, painted a positive picture of continued growth—hitting at between 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent—for the coming year.

“It [EQR’s guidance] really set the tone for the rest of the REITs in the upcoming year,” says Conor Wagner, a research associate at Green Street Advisors. “We had been looking at declining revenue growth over the next couple of years. But at mid point [of EQR’s projection], they will be in line with 2014 growth. That was the biggest takeaway. The predicted slowdown for the group has not quite materialized.”

Though Wagner says no REIT offered specific guidance for the year ahead, the commentary was overall, very optimistic.  

“No one else is ready to give a specific number yet but many of the REITs gave a very positive tone and indicated that they think 2015 will be similar to 2014,” he says.

Other analysts saw the same trends. “I think most [REITs] were looking at 3.5 to 4 percent growth this year,” says Rod Petrik, a real estate research analyst at Baltimore-based Stifel Nicolaus and Co.. “I think it will come in at the top of that range. I think we’ll have another 3.5 to 4 percent [of growth] in 2015.”

But not everyone is as bullish on the sector beyond this year.

“They were one of the best sectors this year, but I’m not sure they’ll be the best next year,” says Ryan Meliker, managing director of equity research, REITs, and lodging for New York-based MLV & Co. “You have a lot of nice tailwinds driven by household demand, high consumer debt, and the millennial lack of interest in buying a home. But supply is growing rapidly.”

Though Meliker thinks there’s enough demand to absorb supply, he thinks growth will slow.

“Even if demand is absorbed, you’re essentially looking at slower NOI growth,” he says. “It isn’t the end of the world, there will still be growth.”

Headwinds and Tailwinds

One leading indicator for 2015 could be the fourth quarter of 2014. So, far occupancy has stayed strong as the sector enters December.

“While I think there is some expectation of a seasonal slowdown, I think most companies are pretty optimistic that they’re going into the fourth quarter with pretty high occupancy rates,” Petrik says.

Part of that high occupancy was a result of low turnover. Wagner was encouraged with REIT commentary saying turnover declined in the third quarter across the sector, despite job growth and additional supply.

“I wonder if it lines up with the secular shift of later marriages and later child birth,” he says. “We’ll be looking [in future quarters] to see if to stays low or if that [the turnover rate] was simply a blip.”

Still some issues did come up on the calls. “The Sun Belt players were fairly positive, but there is a bit of concern about the impact of low oil price in the Texas market,” Wagner says. “Honestly, no one has been able to quantify the impact of that yet and what that could mean for the specific markets. It’s on peoples’ minds but it hasn’t yet shown up in the numbers. I think that will be a factor looking into the Texas markets in 2015.”

Others see slowing in Texas as well. “I think we'll have certain markets like Dallas and Boston that maybe decelerate a little more than the rest [of the country],” Petrik says. “But you’ll have markets like Southern California that will be picking up.”