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The World's Billionaires Are Betting Big On U.S. Multifamily

The ultrawealthy are increasingly turning to the multifamily sector as an investment.

Over the past 10 years, some of the world's richest have more than doubled their investments in apartments globally, with a particularly heavy emphasis on the U.S, Bloomberg reported, citing research from Knight Frank.

The world's 13th-richest person and founder of clothing brand Zara Amancio Ortego purchased 727 Madison, a luxury apartment building in downtown Chicago, in August for $231M. It is the city's most expensive multifamily purchase so far this year.

In June, Global Holdings Management Group, led by billionaire Eyal Ofer, acquired a Manhattan apartment building near Gramercy Park for $30M. Late last year, an investment firm backed by David Rubenstein raised $240M to invest in multifamily units. California-based billionaire Tom Steyer is investing in multifamily properties in Western cities.

Multifamily seems to have traded places with office properties when it comes to billionaire investment. Prior to the pandemic, the office market was booming, and owners could make a sizable return on investment with a prize tower in a busy metro. Now, however, with the popularity of remote working and office vacancies, billionaires have pivoted.

Multifamily was the most popular asset class among all investors in the second quarter, according to CBRE.

Housing demand has been on the rise. This has led to a surge in rent growth, albeit one that has been slowing, from a 17.6% national annual increase in 2021 to 3.5% in 2022 and 2.5% year-to-date. Net absorption rebounded in the asset class during Q2 after a yearlong fall, RealPage reported.

With oversupply being an issue in the multifamily market and more units on the way, properties have become cheaper to acquire in the last year. Apartment building prices declined 17% in February and 16% in August. Last month, Blackstone sold its entire Manhattan multifamily portfolio for $142M — a 43% loss from when it was purchased in 2015.

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