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SAN DIEGO COUNTY-Investors are paying more per room for hotels in this county this year, but the number and dollar volume of hotel sales in the county have both declined this year, according to Atlas Hospitality Group.

The Costa Mesa-based hotel brokerage and consulting firm’s analysis of year-to-year trends in the California hotel industry shows that the number of sales declined by 25%, from 12 at this time last year to nine this year; the dollar volume of transactions declined by 4.8% to $30.7 million, compared with $32.3 million at this time last year; and median price per room increased by 15% to $56,000, compared with $48,700 for this time last year. The largest sale in the county thus far has been the 111-room Best Western Marty’s Valley Inn, which sold for $5.8 million, or $52,523 per room.

The San Diego County statistics were part of a statewide Atlas Hospitality report that showed the number of sales in the state edging upward by 6% for the first six months of 2003, with Southern California accounting for the increase. The total number of sales increased by 12% in the Southland (to 84 from 75) while declining by 12% in Northern California (to 22 from 25). Overall, the dollar volume of transactions climbed 33% in the state to a total of $571 million, but the activity represented a tendency toward smaller sales this year, with the number of larger transactions (those of more than $5 million) falling by 22%. In Southern California, the total dollar volume of transactions climbed by nearly 56% to $421 million, up from $270 million in the first six months of 2002.

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