Apartment Sales in Phoenix Reached New Highs in 2019

Multifamily investment volume in the Phoenix metropolitan area climbed to a record high last year, and 2020 is off to a solid start as well. The Phoenix market garnered the highest rent growth among all major U.S. markets for two consecutive years, and strong net migration and job growth are retaining investor interest.

Sales volume last year reached $7.9 billion, surpassing the record that was set in 2018 when sales totaled nearly $6.1 billion. Heightened competition for Phoenix assets has bolstered the average price per square foot about 70% above the prerecession high, whereas office and retail properties are just now approaching the previous peak.

Despite the rise in values, the average price per unit of $166,490 is a relative bargain compared to the national average of $200,065. Relative affordability, and robust rent growth that is supporting steady cash flows, are attracting out-of-state and foreign investors to the Valley of the Sun. Arizona and California buyers drove 65% of transactions in 2019, and buyers from Canada, New York, Washington and Colorado were especially active as well. Regulatory uncertainties and new rent control laws in some of the markets mentioned above are expected to steer even more buyers to Phoenix, helping to shape a positive outlook for local investment.

Properties priced between $1 million and $2.5 million remains the bread and butter of Phoenix investment sales. However, numerous private and institutional investors moved the needle in Phoenix last year. The Blackstone Group, MG Properties Group, Weidner Property Management and Knightvest Management acquired multiple properties priced above $50 million.

Some marque transactions over the past 12 months include:

  • The Denim Scottsdale; TruAmerica Multifamily sold the property to Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. for $141.3 million, or about $219,000 per unit.
  • District at Scottsdale; Kaplan Management Company sold the property to F&B Capital for $124 million, or about $373,000 per unit.
  • The Carter apartments in Scottsdale; JLB Partners, LP sold the property to Redwood Capital Group for $117.8 million, or approximately $323,000 per unit.
  • Bella Mirage in Avondale; Priderock Capital Partners sold the property to Milestone Investments for $112 million, or approximately $157,000 per unit.
  • Biscayne Bay in Chandler; Alliance Bernstein, LP sold the property to MG Properties Group for $110.3 million, or about $215,000 per unit.

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