ONTARIO, CA-The sale of Mariposa Woods apartments for nearly $141,000 per unit illustrates how the condominium conversion trend is spreading to the Inland Empire, according to the CB Richard Ellis Private Client Group in Anaheim, which brokered the $3.1-million sale of the 22-unit complex. Steve Heri of the Private Client Group tells GlobeSt.com that the new owner plans to convert the Mariposa Woods, a 23–year-old complex of two-bedroom units at 1235 East D St., to condominiums.Heri says the complex commanded a record-setting price per unit because it is entitled for condominium conversion. He and Cara Weichman of the Private Client Group represented the seller, a local private investor, with the buyer represented by Zach Swinscoe of Burnham Real Estate in San Diego.Heri points out that condo conversion has been a driving force that is boosting the prices paid for apartment properties in several markets around the country provided the apartments are entitled to be converted to condominiums. The condo conversion trend is strong in San Diego, but has also been gaining momentum in Orange County and the Inland Empire, Heri says. Escalating home prices are a chief factor in the condo conversion trend, Heri explains, with condo conversion providing product that is affordable to many first-time homebuyers. Heri’s Private Client Group has been assisting apartment owners in both Orange County and the Inland Empire by assessing the feasibility of entitling their existing apartment units for conversion, notes Weichman. She says that apartments eligible for condo conversion command prices of 15% higher than other apartment properties, and sometimes more than 15% higher.The Mariposa complex is a gated community that consists of two two-story townhouse style buildings and was originally designed as condominiums, Heri notes. The condominium conversion trend is especially remarkable in the Inland Empire, he points out, because the region was a bastion of low-priced, entry-level single-family homes until recently that condominiums didn’t pencil out. With the rise in home prices, however, developers are now building new condo projects as well as converting existing apartment properties to condos.

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