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LAS VEGAS-Two apartment properties here totaling 674 units have changed hands for $39.5 million.

The 321-unit Rancho Del Norte at 770 West Lone Mountain in North Las Vegas was acquired by the James P. Hanson Accountancy Corporation for $19.32 million. The seller was Rancho Del Norte Ltd. The property, located near Interstate 15, includes a mix of two- and three-bedroom units that were 95% leased at the time of sale. The age of the 21-building property was not immediately available. Common-area amenities include a gym, recreation room and private swimming pool.

In the other transaction, the 24-building, 353-unit Decatur Villas at 3318 Decatur Boulevard was acquired by LV Decatur LLC for $20.18 million. The seller was Tucson Partners Inc. Built in 1998, the wood-frame and stucco property was 95% leased at the time of sale. The 19-acre property features two- and three-bedroom units as well as a gym, recreation room and private swimming pool.

David Baird of Sperry Van Ness represented both sides of both transactions. With regard to the Rancho Del Norte transaction, Baird says the property will provide “a great return on investment” for the new owner in part due to “very little competition from apartment communities in this area.” Decatur Villas, says Baird, “is conveniently located near Interstate 95, providing easy access to surrounding submarkets.”Only two other multifamily markets, the highly regarded Southern California markets of San Diego and the Inland Empire, performed better than Las Vegas in the first quarter of 2003, according to the latest report from RealFacts, a multifamily research firm

Average apartment rents in Las Vegas rose by 1% during the first quarter of 2003 to an all-time high of $743, according to the report. Rents are up 1.5% over the past year, according to the report, but at the expense of occupancy, which sank lower than it has for many years. RealFacts is reporting an average first quarter occupancy rate in March of 91.7%, which compares to 92.4% in December.

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