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HOUSTON-MBS Cos. has bought and sold multifamily complexes in two separate transactions, both off market in the city’s western tier. When the dust settled, the Metairie, LA-based company had disposed of the 256-unit Briar Meadows Apartments in the Memorial District and taken title to the 352-unit Cornerstone Ranch Apartments in Katy.

The sale prices weren’t available, but comparable assets are trading for $80,000 per door in the region. Briar Meadows at 1414 S. Dairy Ashford St. was sold to Austin-based Falcon Southwest to end a five-year-hold. On the buy side of the double play, Cornerstone Ranch at 2002 S. Mason Rd. was acquired from its developer, Judwin Properties of Houston.

David Wylie, a principal in Houston for Apartment Realty Advisors, says the off-market deals weren’t an exchange, but rather opportunities that happened to present themselves at the right time. Regarding the Briar Meadows sale, MBS had reached the end of its investment strategy cycle for the 15-year-old complex.

Meanwhile in Katy, MBS had had an eye on Cornerstone Ranch for awhile. Wylie tells GlobeSt.com that MBS approached Judwin with an eye to buying the eight-year-old asset in early 2006, but Judwin opted to wait and make more upgrades. “The property improved, rates dipped, MBS was able to structure a deal and make an offer,” Wylie adds.

What helped in the deal was the familiarity of both parties. Judwin had sold two other properties in Katy to MBS in the past year: 276-Unit Ashley House at 3903 S. Mason Rd. and 228-unit Merrywood Apartments at 22400 Westheimer Pkwy.

Wylie points out that both deals were a good example of a growing demand for multifamily assets and the strength of the market. “When you own a deal and someone writes you a great offer for it, you’re inclined to think about selling it when otherwise the idea may not have occurred,” he adds.

The 91%-occupied Briar Meadows has units ranging from studios to three bedrooms, with rents of $607 to $1,500. Cornerstone Ranch, at 95% occupancy, has one-, two- and three bedroom units, with monthly rents from $708 to $1,300.

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