Top 10 Markets for Multifamily Sales Volume in 2020
- Dallas finished as the top destination for multifamily capital in 2020, for the fifth consecutive year.
- Sun Belt markets such as Atlanta and Phoenix continued to attract investors.
- U.S. multifamily sales overall fell 28% in 2020, compared to 2019’s record total.
The U.S. multifamily market weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than most sectors of the economy during 2020, boosted by stimulus packages that allowed tenants to generally keep up with rent payments. According to Real Capital Analytics (RCA), sales activity was down 28% in 2020, compared to 2019’s record total. However, the year finished strong. After moderating in the third quarter, the market posted $56.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, which was higher than the volume seen in the entire first half of the year.
Sun Belt markets led the recovery, as investors sought out affordable markets with positive migration trends, strong economies and good job growth.
Dallas Remains Strong
For the fifth year in a row, Dallas led the nation in multifamily investment activity, with $10.3 billion in sales volume. This was only an 8.0% drop from the $11.2 billion in sales recorded during 2019. Dallas was a strong performer during the recent expansion, finishing as the No. 2 sales market for the 2010s, behind only Manhattan.
The Dallas economy fared relatively well during the downturn, with employment declines well below the national average. The ability to work from home buffered job losses among the area’s high concentration of corporate headquarters, while the increased demand for housing boosted the construction industry. These factors, along with positive migration trends and a growing technology sector, make Dallas an attractive market for multifamily investment coming out of the recovery.
Sun Belt Markets Shine
Atlanta finished second in the nation for 2020, with $9.5 billion in multifamily sales volume, a 17.4% drop as compared with 2019. The area’s diverse economy lessened the effects of the recession, although the recovery has been slow as the level of COVID-19 cases remains high.
After posting a historical market record in multifamily sales volume in 2019, Phoenix finished 2020 with $8.2 billion in sales. This was the third highest total in the nation, although it was down 22.1% year-over-year. The area’s economy fared better than most markets during the pandemic. Tremendous population growth and business relocations have driven the market’s recovery, but an extremely high level of positive COVID-19 cases have hindered this progress.