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HOUSTON-While looking for other assets to acquire, a private investor from Southern California has made its first play in the region, claiming the 256-unit Traces Loft Village Apartments for its portfolio. The $6.7-million deal, carrying a 7.5% cap rate, has reeled in a 90%-leased, class B complex in the far northwest submarket.

Bill Forrest, senior adviser for Sperry Van Ness in Houston, says Smoketree Apts LLC of Villa Park, CA is looking for additional long-term investments in stable markets. He says the investment group liked Traces Loft Village at 5110 Azalea Dr. for its stability and bones, which it bought from TLA Partners LP of Brooklyn.

“We were representing him as the buyer’s broker, another Sperry broker had this property listed and he called me asking about a buyer,” explains Forrest, who worked with Sperry Van Ness senior adviser Bob Meek and adviser Leah Forrest-Gibson. “We lucked into this property. It’s tough to find good deals in the submarket.”

Forrest tells GlobeSt.com that the buyer has several investments in Phoenix and is moving east for more because he thinks now is the time to buy in the Houston area. “He’s mainly looking for class B properties in good condition or Cs he can renovate and bring up to B status,” Forrest says. “But he doesn’t want to do a major rehab on anything he buys.”

The 24-year-old Traces Loft Village Apartments is situated on 8.85 acres. The 18-building complex is all one-bedroom units, which rent for $550 to $600 per month. Forrest says the new owner plans to manage and lease the asset.

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