3 suburban apartment complexes for sale

October 26, 2006|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Sun reporter

Three suburban apartment complexes in Towson, Ellicott City and Bel Air with a total of more than 2,400 apartments are up for sale, the commercial broker representing the owner said yesterday.

The properties are the Charleston Manor on National Pike in Ellicott City, with 858 units; the 829-unit Fairways at Towson, which includes a 137-unit tower, on Goucher Boulevard in Towson; and the 732-unit Seasons at Bel Air, north of Bel Air on Route 22.

The complexes are owned by Federal Capital Partners, a real estate company in Washington, and the New York investment advisory business Angelo Gordon & Co.

The listings were announced yesterday by CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the international real estate company.

"Each of the assets represents very good real estate with excellent locations," said Michael E. Muldowney, an executive vice president for multi-housing investment properties for CB Richard Ellis in Baltimore.

Muldowney said he expects strong interest from potential buyers because land-use regulations and limited availability of land make it difficult to build new apartment buildings in those suburban markets, where demand for rentals is high.

The Baltimore-Washington region has become one of the hottest apartment markets in the country, he said. Demand in the Baltimore area has been driven by job growth and by Washington commuters seeking more affordable housing. Some landlords in the Baltimore region have been able to increase rents as much as 5 percent to 6 percent a year, though 3 percent to 4 percent has been more typical, he said.

In a third-quarter report on the Baltimore market, Delta Associates said demand for rental housing remains strong as job growth expands, especially in the education and health sectors.

The federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is expected to add jobs at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County. In the third quarter, Delta said, vacancy rates at Class A apartments were 1.5 percent, with rents in the Baltimore metro area averaging $1,283.

Rents at the three suburban Baltimore complexes average $1,000 a month, Muldowney said. The complexes were built from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. With upgrades, the properties could command higher rents, Muldowney said.

He said multifamily housing has become attractive to investors because the properties' performance has become more predictable and considered a safe investment. "People need housing whether it's down time or up time," he said. "There's potential there for rent growth."

The Federal Capital partnership also is selling two properties in Prince George's County, one in Landover Hills and the other in Temple Hills. CB Richard Ellis also is brokering those properties.

CB Richard Ellis will be accepting bids for the properties in the Baltimore suburbs and Prince George's through Nov. 30, Muldowney said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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