(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

HOUSTON-A Massachusetts investment group has bought the 270-unit Ranch at City Park, paying close to the $23.5-million ask for a now 90%-leased asset that has yet to mark its first birthday.

SMC Management Corp. of Watertown, MA took the deed for the 11900 City Park Central Lane development from Guefen Development Co. of Houston. “This is their sixth acquisition in Houston,” says Craig LaFollette, senior vice president in Houston for CB Richard Ellis, who represented the seller. The buyer acquired the 344-unit Villas at Coronado at 9111 Lakes at 610 Dr. in late 2005. And, LaFollette says, there’s another one under contract, but he’s not able to elaborate on the details just yet.

Although the Ranch at City Park attracted nine offers during a relatively short marketing period, the transaction itself experienced some challenges. “It was a brand-new property and still in lease-up with Katrina people when it first went on the market,” LaFollette tells GlobeSt.com, adding occupancy dropped when the temporary tenants moved out. He says the result was “the closing was extended by about 60 days, but we got over the hurdle when it was leased up.”

The new owners are using Alliance Communities of Houston to lease and manage a mix of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 654 sf to 1,100 sf. The monthly rents are $707 to $1,118.

LaFollette says the seller was impressed with SMC Management because of its track record. “We’d already closed two deals with them in the past year,” he says. “They weren’t the highest price, but they were close to the highest and they were a proven entity.”

CBRE senior vice presidents Todd Stewart and Todd Marix and associate Tre Banks helped to negotiate the deal on behalf of the seller. SMC Management used an in-house broker to bargain its terms.

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