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DALLAS-In a spike to summer activity, multifamily property buyers have stepped up interest in class C buyouts. The fast-churning deal flow has brought three closings for comparably sized assets, totaling 330 units, with near identical dynamics.

“The activity’s definitely picked up,” says Jay Gunn with Hendricks & Partners in Dallas. “The buyers are expressing desire to see more C product.”

Brokers from Hendricks & Partners and Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. report increased activity across the board from buyers and sellers, keeping closing dockets full with deals of roughly 100 units and occupancies of 90% or higher. “It does depend on the submarket,” Hendricks’ Tom Burns tells GlobeSt.com. “I think it is going to continue and I think with the interest rates going up that it’s going to help the apartment market.”

The just-closed deals are the 100-unit Telstar Apartments at 510 Westmount Ave. and 102-unit Casa de Loma at 100 N. Randolph Dr., both inside the Dallas line, and 128-unit Tree Top Apartments at 1933 W. Freeway St. in neighboring Grand Prairie. The deals closed at $2.3 million for Telstar, a 90%-leased property; about $2.5 million for the 97%-leased Casa de Loma; and 90% of the $3.95-million ask for the 93%-occupied Tree Top Apartments.

John Barker with Marcus & Millichap says he had a dozen offers in less than one month of marketing Telstar, which has been sold by a local private investor after a 10-year hold. The buyer is a tenants-in-common group from San Jose, CA that got a 10-year mortgage at a fixed rate and 80% loan to value from Chicago-based LaSalle Bank.

Barker says there were several offers in the same ballpark for a property minus deferred maintenance. “They came in strong with good terms,” he says. The new owner plans to sub-meter the units to glean immediate upside and then tick up rents down the road, according to Barker. The complex has 13 years before the state’s low-income housing provision wears off.

Telstar, built in 1983, sits on four acres near Davis Street at the edge of the historic Kessler Park. It’s a mix of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 463 sf to 1,121 sf. The all-bills paid rents go from $560 to $715 per month.

Peter Hartnett with Hendricks & Brokers says he got a winning offer on the first day of marketing Casa de Loma. The buyer is a local investment group led by Brian Schwartz; the seller is a limited liability company from San Antonio, parting with an eight-year investment.

Casa de Loma consists of 16 buildings on four acres about a half block from an entrance to Pinnacle Park’s industrial and retail development. Built in 1967, the one-, two and three-bedroom units go from 572 sf to 1,040 sf. Hartnett says the monthly rents are below market at $489 to $654. “He thinks he can get an immediate $50 per month increase per unit,” the broker says, “and, he’ll get it.” Besides the location, he says the dealmaker was a track record of staying full or close to it.

In the past two years, the seller has parted with 2,520 units in 14 properties in Dallas/Fort Worth and is selling its 17-complex portfolio in San Antonio too. There are two listings to go in the DFW while Hendricks & Partners’ Scott Weems has five to sell in Central Texas. “They bought at the right time and they’ve sold at the right time,” Hartnett explains.

Tree Top Apartments pulled eight offers in a three-month market run, with the win going to Sherman Campbell of Santa Rosa, CA, a 1031 exchange investor who sold a multifamily property in his home territory. Gunn, teaming with Burns on the deal, says the Dallas seller agreed to short-term finance the play so Campbell could meet the exchange deadline. As a result, the deal closed in 17 days. Gunn says the buyer expects to have permanent financing in weeks.

In the past year, Tree Top’s seller had put about $250,000 into upgrading the 16 buildings, built in 1970 on a seven-acre tract with front-door positioning along the service road for the under-construction US Highway 161 and a 13-minute drive from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The one-, two- and three-story apartments go from 780 sf to 1,251 sf. Rents range from $525 to $795.

The deal trio is part of an uptick in the class B and C market that has lifted prices 5.5% to an average of $32,200 per unit for the category, according to Marcus & Millichap’s latest market report. “Appreciation was stronger among class B/C properties,” researchers found, citing a 190-point gain in the category’s average occupancy, now 11.1% versus an estimated 9% average in Dallas/Fort Worth. The region’s average cap rate is 8.2%, down 30 points from a year ago and more than 200 points higher than the national average. Before the year ends, effective rents are predicted to climb 2.9% for an overall average of $670 per month.

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