In a year of firsts, another record has been set in commercial real estate. In normal years, Manhattan would occupy the top spot for US transaction volume, hands down. At various times of market disruption, Los Angeles would topple Manhattan for shorter periods, but this year, Dallas has logged more time at the top of the leader board, or three consecutive quarters, than either city, according to research by Real Capital Analytics.

Other than the anomaly that is 2020, what could be the contributing factors in this great reversal? Granted, year-to-date deal activity across all the top markets diminished amid the COVID-19 crisis. But, Dallas' drop was less dramatic than the traditionally heavyweight markets.

Manhattan's rankings descent is the result of a gut punch of apartment market tumult, then the total knockout of the hotel market. After slipping to number eight in apartment sales after rent control regulations skimmed off investor demand in Manhattan last year, more disruption was soon to follow. In 2020, the besieged hotel market, which was buckling to competition and saturation, melted down under the weight of COVID.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.