The apartment sales market remained hot in July, totaling $7.8 billion in volume, which was a 14 percent year-over-year increase according to New York-based research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA).

While there were volume gains in garden and mid/high-rise transactions, as well as portfolio and individual transactions, the real story was in tertiary markets. In those areas, sales activity jumped 31 percent year-over-year. These gains could be taken as a sign that investors have cooled on pricey primary metros and are looking further out for yield.

Adding to that narrative was the fact that the Midwest and Southwest regions recorded the most appreciation last quarter, while things have slowed in the Northeast.

“Over the past year, price gains in the apartment sector have been fairly uniform across sub-types and regions,” RCA said in the July sales report. “However, recent differences have emerged as investors appear more hesitant to push pricing further in the most heated segments. Generally, the greatest appreciation has been in segments that have trailed in the recovery.”

Across the apartment sector, prices have now hit 15 percent above peak levels, according to the Moody’s/RCA CPPI report. In the past year, prices are up 16.9 percent. The biggest price gains during the second quarter were seen in apartment communities of less than 150 units, while large garden and high-rise properties saw the least appreciation.

Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at RCA, doesn't find the price appreciation concerning yet.

"The fact that prices are 15 percent above peak is not concerning in itself because the spread between cap rates and treasuries is still much wider than it was at the peak," he says. "This level of price appreciation is likely more driven by an increase in the number of renters than investment capital trends."