Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Commercial property sales rose 57 percent to more than $220 billion U.S. last year, led by retail properties and garden apartments, Real Capital Analytics Inc. said in a report today.
More than 14,700 properties, each worth at least $2.5 million, changed hands in 2011, the New York-based real estate research firm said. Retail-property transactions rose 91 percent from a year earlier to $42.4 billion, and sales of low-rise apartments increased 70 percent to $34.5 billion. Manhattan accounted for 12 percent of total deal volume.
Sales rose as investors sought relatively higher yields from income-producing real estate and debt-laden owners unloaded properties acquired during the bubble years. Deals slowed in the second half of 2011 as turmoil in the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities curbed financing. Office and hotel transactions fell in the three months through December after six quarters of “large” year-over-year gains, Real Capital said.
“Buyers have started to broaden their horizons both geographically and by property type,” the firm said.
The biggest declines in capitalization rates were seen in well-leased, high-quality suburban offices and in shopping centers anchored by grocery stores, Real Capital said. Cap rates are calculated by dividing a property’s net operating income by purchase price, with rates dropping as prices rise.
--Editors: Daniel Taub, Christine Maurus
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