Sule Aygoren Carranza is managing editor of Real Estate Forum.

NEW YORK CITY-Despite all the talk of a slowdown, apartment sales volume closed out 2007 with a bang–that is, on the surface, at least. A look deeper into year-end data from Real Capital Analytics Inc. proves that investors did indeed hold off on making purchases as the capital markets tightened up.

By the numbers, $36.4 billion in deals closed during the fourth quarter brought the year’s total volume to a record $98.6 billion–an 8% increase over 2006. However, a bulk of that Q4 number is attributed to the $22-billion purchase of Archstone-Smith by Tishman Speyer Properties, Lehman Brothers and Bank of America, which closed in October.Taking that privatization out of the equation, fourth-quarter deal volume actually declined 60% over the same period in 2006. Further, total 2007 sales would be nowhere near that of the prior two years.

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