Conversely, investment volume for apartments barely surpassed$3.5 billion in the first month of the year, 47% less than the sameperiod in 2007. In fact, the locally based firm points out that thevolume levels haven't been so low since early 2004.

The increase in offerings, RCA researchers say, is a sign of abroader trend. Rather than panicking, they say, sellers "may besensing the shift in investor demand under way as apartments onceagain become the most popular property type."

After the condominium conversion wave hit the market, investorsleft the sector in favor of office properties, which saw the mostinvestment dollars in 2007. However, by the end of the year, moreplayers were gravitating to multifamily assets than any otherproperty type, "largely due to the belief that occupancies willbenefit from troubles in the housing market."Plus, the firm adds,financing available from the agencies also helped apartment buyersremain active despite the tighter conditions in the broader capitalmarkets.

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