Orange County apartments have actually held up through the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, CBRE brokers have been tracking apartment rent collections, and they have found that rent collections have consistently trended above 90%.

"When COVID-19 hit we did experience market anxiety that sidelined a lot of people. At that point, we started tracking rent collections– we're now in the fifth month of doing so—and realized rent payments remained at 90-plus percent month over month over month," Dan Blackwell, EVP in CBRE's Newport Beach office, tells "At these high levels, we have seen bank lending confidence come back, followed by investor interest."

While rent collections have outperformed initial expectations, apartment investment activity has been disrupted. Capital is moving out of the state at a faster rate than before the pandemic. "We have always had a good portion of capital flowing out of state, but COVID-19 has accelerated that trend somewhat," says Blackwell. "Something to note is that many more of our clients want to stay in multifamily whereas in the past, quite a few investors have opted to trade out of multifamily and get into out-of-state retail."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.