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ORANGE COUNTY, CA–Developers seeking multifamily properties to acquire in Orange County are paying near record levels per unit, and rents are continuing to soar.

In one of its recent purchases, the Prometheus Real Estate Group, based in Redwood Shores, CA, paid $42 million for the Cascades Apartments, an Anaheim Hills complex with 292 units. The sale averaged out to $144,000 per unit, just short of the record $145,000 per unit paid for the Lakes complex in Costa Mesa in 1998.

Developers, pension funds and investors, like Prometheus, from all over the state are looking to Orange County for affordable properties to buy. But with little new product under construction and a few owners controlling the majority of large complexes in the region, there are few opportunities for outsiders, especially with low vacancy rates and escalating rents.

During the past two years alone, rents have gone up 19% overall in Orange County to an average of $1,106 a month, with rents in attractive locations like Anaheim Hills, Irvine and Aliso Viejo increasing even more.

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