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PHOENIX-Right Place Properties has bought the first asset in its plan to acquire 2,750 apartments this year in Greater Phoenix and Houston. The local investment group has paid $4.8 million for the 98-unit Maridale Villa Apartments.

The buyer has been assembling class B and class C properties for eventual conversions into affordable condominiums when the time is right. However for now, the 34-year-old Maridale Villa Apartments, situated at 5701 N. 78th Ave. in nearby Glendale, will remain in the region’s rental pool.

Natan Jacobs, managing principal for Red Door Commercial in Phoenix, tells GlobeSt.com that Right Place, a sister company, will spend another $3,000 to $4,000 per unit to renovate Maridale Villa. Situated on 5.8 acres, the 85%-occupied complex has one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, ranging from 600 sf to 980 sf. Rents are between $641 and $1,064 per month.

Jacobs says Right Place will hold Maridale Villa for three to four years rather than two to three years, which has been its typical MO in the past. “That’s unusual for us, to hold it for that long,” Jacobs says. He adds that another reason for the change is due to market uncertainty. “We’re still getting investors and are getting properties. But, people aren’t buying as many condos as they were,” he says.

Jacobs says the plan for the coming year is to keep all acquisitions as rentals and there are plenty more in the pipeline. He says Right Place expects to acquire 750 more units in Phoenix this year and 2,000 apartments in Houston.

The investment group entered Houston last fall with its buy of the 94-unit Braesforest Apartments at 8100 Creekbend Dr. Jacobs says it’s performing extraordinarily well. “We renovated the exterior by December, got the models ready to go, then launched the marketing,” he says. “We’ve already sold 35 units out of a 90-unit property. There’s definitely a pent-up demand for affordable housing in Houston.”

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