Over at Capital Business, Delta’s Steven Reilly has this analysis of the current apartment-sales market:

The sale of apartment buildings in the Washington region reached their highest level in three years in 2011, edging 2010 sales volume and far surpassing 2009, when sales reached a trough in the wake of the recession.

While today’s pace still trails the record-setting years leading up to the recession, the numbers are indicative of a healthy market.

In 2011 there were 29 sales of local Class A — or high-end — apartment properties totaling $2.41 billion. Low-rise properties comprised 19 of the sales and mid-/high-rise properties comprised 10 of the sales.

The average per-unit price for 2011 sales was 25 percent higher than 2010 for low-rise units (at $224,000) and 27 percent higher for high-rises (at $423,000).

The Washington market also saw improving returns on the buildings. Total return on apartment investments (cash flow plus appreciation) in the Washington market was the second-highest in the nation in 2011, as tracked by the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. This index reported a 16.84 percent total return, behind only the 18.9 percent return of the Dallas metropolitan area. The U.S. average for the same time period was 15.5 percent.

Read the rest at Capital Business.