ORLANDO-Buying a fully leased local apartment complex with an annual gross rent roll of about approximately $1.2 million seemed like a no-brainer to a California family partnership. And that’s what JB, EZ & JH Pershing LLC did quickly after learning that a prior contract on the 15-year-old, 144-unit Pershing Pointe Apartments had fallen through due to Florida hurricanes.

The two families–one from Southern California; the other from Northern California–paid Pershing Pointe Association, the property’s original developer, nearly $8.2 million, or about $56,701 per unit and $54.84 per sf. “They stepped to the plate immediately,” Darrell H. Johnson, a senior broker at locally based Smith Equities Corp., tells GlobeSt.com. Johnson handled both sides of the transaction.

Average rents at the concrete block-constructed complex at 4304 Pershing Point Place are $675 per month. The apartments are all two-bedroom, two-bath units with average living areas of 1,034 sf and individually metered utilities.

The deal took 90 days to complete from contract signing to closing. There were “no environmental or governmental challenges that buyer or seller had to overcome” before closing the transaction, Johnson says. The $56,701-per-unit price is about average for a comparable concrete-block constructed property, the broker tells GlobeSt.com. “But considering these are all 2/2s, the price per foot at $54.84 was a bit lower than average,” he says.

While remaining bullish on the multifamily market generally, Johnson doesn’t see 2005 as being another hot investment sales scenario. “We are interest-rate sensitive,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “As rates go up, so does rental income, but with some lag time. The condo conversion phenom has increased asking prices [and] I personally think the market will slow down after the first quarter.” The reason: “Too many potential conversions; too low caps.”

Johnson has completed about $33 million in 2004 transactional volume with another $27 million slated to close in early 2005. Smith Equities is finishing 2004 with total volume of $110.9 million on 13 transactions consisting of 1,887 units.

This production, however, “does not include deals that were scheduled to close in 2004 but were pushed out to January 2005,” Smith Equities president Robert E. Smith tells GlobeSt.com. In 2003, the firm did $82 million on 14 transactions consisting of 1,661 units.

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