Carmel Acquires Trio of Apartment Complexes

San Francisco-based private real estate investor Carmel Partners Inc. has acquired three multi-family properties totaling 826 units.Two of the properties are in California while the third is in Hawaii.The largest of the acquisitions involves Kukui Gardens, a property located in Downtown Honolulu. Carmel contracted to purchase all 857 units of the property, and then partnered with the state of Hawaii and a number of nonprofit housing entities to structure a deal that maintains the property as affordable housing, using a variety of federal and state subsidies. Carmel closed on the deal in December 2007 and retains ownership of 468 units.In San Francisco, the company acquired an interest in the 19-story Grosvenor Suites in the Nob Hill neighborhood. In the deal, inked last month, Carmel entered into a joint venture partnership with the current owners of Grosvenor Suites.In Los Angeles, Carmel bought the Westwood Collection, a four-property, 153-unit portfolio on the southern edge of the UCLA campus. The company plans to complete the interior renovation program started by the previous owners.For multi-family apartment owners, the outlook for rental increases is good in a number of markets. The for-sale housing slowdown, at least in some parts of the United States, has been a contributing factor in multi-family rental increases, as former homeowners seek other places to live.For example, according to a recent survey by property research firm RealFacts, multi-family rents are climbing in Southern California, in parallel with the steep housing slump there. The survey noted that rents in Southern California averaged $1,494 a month during the last three months of 2007, an increase of 4.5 percent compared with the same period in 2006.