Despite the Crisis, Some Apartments Traded During the Third Quarter

Buyers have closed these deals to buy apartment properties with help from new capital from investors.

Investors bought more apartment properties than anyone expected in the third quarter of 2020, despite the ongoing chaos stemming from the pandemic.

First, apartment investors found ways to complete deals planned before the coronavirus spread. Additionally, investors began to make new deals to buy apartment properties, especially in strong suburban markets.

These deals are moving forward despite new uncertainties, as doctors diagnose tens of thousands of new cases of the coronavirus. Dealmakers are also making decisions amid a backdrop of political uncertainty with the control of the White House and Congress at stake in next week’s election and with it the potential fate of any new COVID-19 relief that could extend a needed lifeline to millions of Americans that remain unemployed.

“We are surprised by the amount of acquisition activity,” says Sam Isaacson, president of Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners.

Investors spend billions

Investors paid a total of $24.0 billion for apartment properties in the third quarter of 2020, according to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). That’s down 51 percent from nearly $50 billion in the third quarter of 2019. It sounds like a steep and sudden fall—but the volume of sales is a step up from a second quarter in which much of the U.S. economy shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus and deal volume ground to a near halt. The volume of sales was down 67 percent in the second quarter compared to the year before.

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