First quarter sales volume totaled $35.5 billion, declining 12.0% year-over-year. Investor appetite rose for properties throughout the Southeast and Southwest regions, which accounted for 54.7% of total volume.
Rent collections averaged 94.2% nationwide for the first quarter of 2021 – a slight improvement from 94.0% in the fourth quarter of 2020. The majority of markets are now recording their highest collection rates in over a year.
Despite operational challenges posed by COVID-19, multifamily annualized total returns as of the first quarter of 2021 were 1.7%. Historically, multifamily has outperformed following recessions.
Trailing twelve month rent growth declined -0.9% in the first quarter of 2021, however rents are projected to rebound sharply over the next two years, reaching 3.3% annual effective rent growth by the end of 2023.
Supply and Demand
New multifamily supply remained robust, with 353,453 units delivered over the past 12 months. The prospects for rental housing remain strong due to lack of available inventory and rapidly rising prices in the single-family market.
Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $1.7 trillion, up 8.2% year-over-year. GSE debt outstanding, which accounted for the largest share of debt outstanding at 49.7%, saw a 12.6% increase year-over-year.