RCA Insights

Chart: European Apartment Investment at Record Share

By on January 13th, 2021

The biggest institutional investors into Europe’s commercial property market set a new record for apartment investment in 2020. Nearly 30% of total acquisition activity was focused on the residential for rent and student housing sector last year, according to Real Capital Analytics data.

It is already a cliché, but the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated shifts in commercial real estate markets that were underway pre-pandemic. Five years ago, apartments accounted for just 10% of all European acquisition activity by the biggest institutional investors and the proportion has steadily increased since.

In part, this was due to Blackstone’s acquisition of the multibillion pound iQ student housing portfolio in London and Manchester. But every year has its big deals and this simply underlines the depth and breadth of demand for a sector that has proved extremely resilient in the face of the challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

top European investors property type acquisition

Another shift put into greater focus by the pandemic is that towards the industrial and, more specifically, the distribution sector. Industrial property accounted for 18% of all acquisitions by these top 50 players in 2020, the second highest figure on record after 2017, when the Logicor megadeal took place. Meanwhile, office investment has taken its smallest piece of the pie in a decade: worries over how companies will use office space in the future and the record high pricing in most of Europe’s core markets put a brake on acquisition activity in 2020.


Real Capital Analytics will release the 2020 review edition of Europe Capital Trends on January 27, featuring the ranking of the top 25 most active buyers and sellers of the year. 

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Tom Leahy

Tom Leahy

Senior Director, EMEA Analytics

Tom Leahy joined RCA in 2014. In his role as Senior Director for the EMEA region, Tom is responsible for the development and expansion of the market analytics service for RCA’s European clients.

Prior to joining RCA, Tom was an Associate Director and then Head of Research at UK-based property consultancy, Lambert Smith Hampton. He started his career as an analyst at research consultancy Property Market Analysis (PMA).