Citing the continued strength of the multi-family market, Gables Residential of Atlanta has purchased The Reserve at Barton Creek, a 160-unit townhome apartment development at 2001 S. MoPac Expressway.

Gables has acquired the two-year-old project from Trammell Crow Residential. Gables says it will not disclose financial details of the transaction, but has announced a renaming to Gables Barton Creek.

The transaction is the latest in a series of multi-family purchases in Austin’s red-hot multi-family sector, which has experienced recent buyouts by industry heavyweights such as AMLI and Lend Lease.

“From its infill location to its townhome quality and above-average growth prospects, Gables Barton Creek fits all of the elements of our investment strategy,” Steve Sweet, Gables vice president/development and acquisition told

Gables Barton Creek is a class AA community located in an infill location with high barriers to entry due to limited land availability – a result of environmental restrictions and zoning. The community is located adjacent to two of Austin’s most prestigious neighborhoods – Westlake Hills and Rollingwood. Average rents are approximately $1,500 per month at Barton Creek in comparison to the Gables’ average rent of $1,134 per month at its other Austin properties, says Sweet.

Austin’s vibrant multi-family market is expected to continue, boosted by last year’s in-migration of some 33,000 people, up 3%, while unemployment was one of the lowest of any major metropolis, about 2.5%, says area economists. Some 30,000 jobs have been added to the local economy, further attracting people from within the state and outside. Despite the influx, Austin’s multi-family developers only built 4,500 apartments last year, giving the city one of the tightest rental housing markets – 98% occupancy – in the southwest. This is translating into higher rents for complex owners.

Sweet notes Gables same store net operating income growth in Austin has exceeded 16% in the first six months of this year. “Our research suggests Austin should be a bigger part of our company,” says Sweet. “Our goal is to increase Austin’s share of our revenues from under 10% to 15% during the coming years.”

Gables is seeking to build an asset portfolio in approximately six to eight strategically selected markets that are complementary through economic diversity and characterized by high growth and resiliency to national economic downturns, he explains. Gables Residential presently owns 79 communities with 23,425 completed apartment homes and has an additional 12 communities with 3,451 apartment homes under development or lease-up in principal cities in GA, TX, TN and FL.

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