Top California Markets for Multifamily Transactions

These cities have attracted the state’s highest investment volume this year, according to Yardi Matrix data.

Thanks to solid performance in the multifamily sector, investors continue to forge ahead with notable ventures across the country. Year-to-date through August, California markets saw substantial investment activity, with $7.4 billion in multifamily deals closed in the first eight months of the year, according to Yardi Matrix data. Deal velocity has significantly improved compared to the same period in 2020, when total sales volume amounted to $3.9 billion.

The table below ranks California metros with the highest investment volumes recorded this year between January and August, based on Yardi Matrix data. The top five markets combined represent 87 percent of all transactions in the state.

Rank Market Units Transaction Volume (MM) Price Per Unit
1 Los Angeles 6,858 $2,543.2 $370,834
2 San Francisco 3,653 $1,418.7 $388,365
3 Orange County 2,338 $957.3 $409,454
4 San Diego 2,541 $934.8 $367,893
5 Inland Empire 2,809 $650.3 $231,518

Source: Yardi Matrix

5. The Inland Empire

Transaction volume in the Inland Empire totaled more than $650 million year-to-date through August, almost double the $346 million traded during the same period in 2020. The metro recorded at least one sale every month from January to August, with August being the busiest month, when a total of seven properties, or 766 units, changed hands for $147 million.

Overall, 2,809 units changed hands for an average price per unit of $231,518. The largest deal in the metro closed in June. MG Properties Group acquired a 319-unit property in the Rancho Cucamonga submarket for nearly $138 million, or $431,348 per unit. TIAA provided $75 million to finance the acquisition.

San Diego. Image by Lucas Davies via

4. San Diego

Investment slowed down in San Diego at the beginning of the health crisis, with only $145 million in multifamily deals closed between January and August 2020. As some of the concerns faded and market conditions stabilized, investors closed an additional $765 million from September through the end of the year.

San Diego’s multifamily market continued to perform well in 2021, underscoring investor interest in the metro. Around 2,500 units traded for roughly $935 million year-to-date through August, representing a substantial uptick compared to the same interval in 2020. AEW Capital Management’s $156 million sale of a 355-unit Class A property in the Kearny Mesa submarket was the largest deal recorded in San Diego. Griffis Residential acquired the community known as Presidio View.

3. Orange County

After a modest $84.2 million in transactions closed between January and August 2020, multifamily investment accelerated in Orange County. More than $957 million in assets traded in the first eight months of 2021. A total of 2,338 units changed hands for an average price per unit of $409,454, almost double the $207,328 average registered during the same period last year.

The highest influx of capital was recorded in the Anaheim Central submarket, with more than $443 million in apartment assets changing hands and accounting for 36 percent of total sales.

The most notable deal was also recorded in this submarket. Waterford Property Co., in a partnership with California Statewide Communities Development,  acquired a 400-unit property for $160 million. The sale was subject to a $225 million acquisition and construction loan held by Wilmington Trust.

2. San Francisco

San Francisco saw more than 1.4 billion in closed multifamily deals year-to-date through August. This represents a 21 percent uptick from the $1.1 billion recorded during the same period last year.

A total of 3,653 units were sold for an average price per unit of $388,365 between January and August 2021. Buyer interest revolved around Class B and C assets, while five of the properties sold were fully affordable.

The biggest buyer in the metro was Catalyst Housing Group. The company paid a combined $663 million for five assets encompassing 1,226 units. Located in the East Bay area, the properties traded in separate transactions for an average per-unit price of $448,369.

San Francisco. Image by Joonyeop Baek via


1. Los Angeles

The top metro on our list, Los Angeles, recorded close to $2.55 billion in multifamily deals year-to-date through August, a 144 percent increase compared to more than $1 billion transacted during the same period last year.

This year’s transaction volume fell slightly short of the $2.6 billion recorded pandemic, through the first eight months of 2019. A total of 6,858 units sold through August this year for an average price per unit of $370,834, up 18 percent compared to the same period in 2020.

The metro’s largest deal was Waterford Property Co. and California Statewide Communities Development’s $300 million acquisition of a 507-unit community in Glendale. The property, known as Altana, will be converted into workforce housing. The deal is part of CSCDA’s middle-income housing program, which uses tax-exempt bond financing to transform existing apartments into workforce housing. 

Yardi Matrix covers all multifamily properties of 50-plus units across 140 markets in the United States. This ranking reflects transactions within that sample group.

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