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CARLSBAD, CA-A West Los Angeles investor has bought a 450-unit complex here in a deal valued at $54.4 million. The property is 97% occupied and has a total of 763 parking spaces.

The property is Ocean Crest Apartments, located at 2320 Via Clemente in Carlsbad. The buyer is Universal Institutional Ventures 1 LLC. The purchase price translates to $120,000 per unit.

The acquisition loan included equity financing of $10.5 million provided by South Charles Investment Corporation and debt financing of $43.9 million provided by Wachovia Securities. Financing was arranged by Richard F. Scandaliato, SVP and senior director in the Los Angeles office of NorthMarq Capital Inc.

The apartment complex was built in 1985 and 1986 and includes 33 buildings on 29 acres of land. The complex includes 30 studio units at 500 sf, 67 one-bedroom, one-bath units at 660 sf, 60 two-bedroom, 1.5- bath units at 700 sf, and 293 2-bedroom, 2-bath units at 850 sf for an overall total square footage of 350,255.

It’s the second large deal in as many weeks. Less than a week ago, L.J. Melody & Co. announced a $38.5 million financing package for Signature Point, a 2-year-old, 262-unit luxury apartment complex in San Diego.

Although demand is down somewhat from last year, the San Diego County economy is keeping the multifamily market strong, apartment analysts say. Despite low interest rates, the market continues to benefit from rising single-family home prices, ensuring that vacancies remain low and investor interest remains high.

The overall average vacancy rate increased from 2.4% in the first quarter of 2001 to 4.6% in the first quarter of 2002, according to a recent report from Hendricks & Partners. However, some owners of higher-end complexes are discounting rents to attract tenants as renters move to less-expensive suburbs.

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