San Diego Business Journal

Acquisition Boosts Apartment Owners’ Local Portfolio

REAL ESTATE: Thousands Of Properties Change Hands With $16B Archstone Deal By Lou Hirsh Monday, December 17, 2012

A large proportion of San Diego County apartments built between 1967 and 1989 now frequently require major renovations, including new kitchens and bathrooms, according to a recent third-quarter report by the brokerage firm Voit Real Estate Services.

Developers Search for Land

Voit said local developers are “scouring the county” in competition for buildable land. Because of continued supply constraints amid rising demand, newly finished apartments have been quickly absorbed into the rental market.

The region’s apartment vacancy rate at the end of September was 4.5 percent, about even with the same point a year ago, making it among the nation’s tightest apartment markets.

San Diego County apartment property transactions in the first three quarters of 2012 were up 29 percent over the year-ago period, but the dollar volume was on par with 2011. While more apartment assets are selling, the average size of the properties has fallen from 30 units last year to 24 this year.

Voit noted that the region is on track to close more than 300 apartment transactions in 2012, the most since 2008. However, the dollar volume constitutes about one-third the annual value of apartments sold during 2004 and 2005.

The brokerage firm said there is still the potential for a wave of fourth-quarter transactions, as owners rush to close sales ahead of a spike in capital gains taxes expected to take effect Jan. 1 if Bush-era tax cuts are not extended. State and federal changes combined would raise the tax on gains on investment sales from approximately 25 percent to approximately 33.8 percent.

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