The 5 Best & Worst Real Estate Markets for Total Returns in 2020

Given that this year has been unprecedented, the impact for real estate investors was not clear in the first months of the pandemic. However, multifamily has been one of the most stable assets so far, as the reality is that shelter is always a need that must be met. With the economic impacts of the pandemic, the demand for multifamily housing has only strengthened, as renting is becoming an increasing solution for many. Despite the grim outlook of the current national unemployment average of 6.9%, not only are we seeing an increasing demand for housing, but even a preference for renting and an apartment community. My company, Blue Lake Capital, was pleasantly surprised to discover that the “new normal” lifestyle of remote living has actually increased our profits, as tenants are more commonly requesting upgraded units, since they spend much more time at home.


That being said, not all are faring as well. The key to being successful in real estate investing, from my perspective, is rooted in being conservative, patient, and highly selective of which markets to invest in. Due to the pandemic, some investors are struggling with misconceptions of how to respond to these challenging times, but the truth is that even in a global pandemic, multifamily real estate investing is standing strong.


As you look at the markets providing the stronger total returns vs the ones performing “poorly”, it's important to understand that the average US multifamily total return is 2.3%. As you’ll see, some markets are performing incredibly well. Yet, even the worst performing markets are not a drastic drop, showing that multifamily investing continues to be incredibly resilient, even in a pandemic.


Top 5 Real Estate Markets with the Highest Total Returns in 2020:


5. Charlotte, NC

Total Annual Returns: 4.6%

Major Industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Distribution, Banking, Financial Services

Percentage of the Population that Rents: 34.57%

Average Rent: $1,276


4. Denver, CO

Total Annual Returns: 5.0%

Major Industries: Aerospace, Energy, Financial Services, Telecommunications

Percentage of the Population that Rents: 35.74%

Average Rent: $1,635