(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

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BETHESDA, MD-In separate transactions, two multifamilyproperties have traded in suburban Maryland for an aggregate priceof $64 million. The broker in both deals was Transwestern'sInstitutional Multifamily Group, which is based here and led byco-directors Al Cissel and Scott Melnick.

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Besides these two sales, the company has closed more than $1.3billion of transactions in the last month, Cissel tellsGlobeSt.com, with an additional $180 million under agreement.

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The two most recent sales closed last week. One property inColumbia, a class A, 190-unit, seven-building complex was acquiredby Fairfield Residential from a local partnership, according toCissel. Occupancy is 94%.

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The other trade was a 220-unit, class A Germantown complexconsisting of nine buildings. It is 97% occupied and was bought bya Florida-based investment partnership that is just now enteringthe DC market, Cissel says.

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"Both of these trades were value-add opportunities for thebuyers. They were both built in the early 90s, so with a mild rehabor upgrade the buyers can raise the rents."

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Over the last month Transwestern's group has closed $1.3 billionin multifamily transactions, including three portfolio tradesconsisting of six, eight and three assets. The portfolios werecomprised of 17 garden style class A and B properties locatedthroughout the Washington Metropolitan area and South Florida. Thenew owners plan on upgrading several of the properties, Cisselsays.

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These deals are indicative of growing investor interest inmultifamily assets in the DC area. "Since January we have gottenmore calls from investors specifically interested in multifamily,"Cissel says. "Also, more investors are increasing their allocationsin multifamily."

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For instance, Onyx Partners LLC, a New York-New Jersey basedreal estate investment group intends to acquire between $700million and $800 million of multifamily assets throughout theMid-Atlantic, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

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Grant Montgomery, vice president of Delta Associates, tellsGlobeSt.com that investors' motivations to acquire these assetshave changed. "Investors used to be interested primarily in condoplays. Now people are purchasing [apartments] based purely onmarket fundamentals for the asset class.

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According to Delta Associations, per unit prices for class Agarden apartments in the DC area have risen 13% to $220,000 at yearend 2006 from year end 2005. For high rises, that number is 15%, toover $350,000.

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