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BETHESDA, MD-In separate transactions, two multifamily properties have traded in suburban Maryland for an aggregate price of $64 million. The broker in both deals was Transwestern’s Institutional Multifamily Group, which is based here and led by co-directors Al Cissel and Scott Melnick.

Besides these two sales, the company has closed more than $1.3 billion of transactions in the last month, Cissel tells GlobeSt.com, with an additional $180 million under agreement.

The two most recent sales closed last week. One property in Columbia, a class A, 190-unit, seven-building complex was acquired by Fairfield Residential from a local partnership, according to Cissel. Occupancy is 94%.

The other trade was a 220-unit, class A Germantown complex consisting of nine buildings. It is 97% occupied and was bought by a Florida-based investment partnership that is just now entering the DC market, Cissel says.

“Both of these trades were value-add opportunities for the buyers. They were both built in the early 90s, so with a mild rehab or upgrade the buyers can raise the rents.”

Over the last month Transwestern’s group has closed $1.3 billion in multifamily transactions, including three portfolio trades consisting of six, eight and three assets. The portfolios were comprised of 17 garden style class A and B properties located throughout the Washington Metropolitan area and South Florida. The new owners plan on upgrading several of the properties, Cissel says.

These deals are indicative of growing investor interest in multifamily assets in the DC area. “Since January we have gotten more calls from investors specifically interested in multifamily,” Cissel says. “Also, more investors are increasing their allocations in multifamily.”

For instance, Onyx Partners LLC, a New York-New Jersey based real estate investment group intends to acquire between $700 million and $800 million of multifamily assets throughout the Mid-Atlantic, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

Grant Montgomery, vice president of Delta Associates, tells GlobeSt.com that investors’ motivations to acquire these assets have changed. “Investors used to be interested primarily in condo plays. Now people are purchasing [apartments] based purely on market fundamentals for the asset class.

According to Delta Associations, per unit prices for class A garden apartments in the DC area have risen 13% to $220,000 at year end 2006 from year end 2005. For high rises, that number is 15%, to over $350,000.

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