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Hot, hot, hot: Colorado Springs apartment complex nets big profit in 20 months

September 13, 2017 Updated: September 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm
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If the single-family home market is hot, the apartment market is sizzling.

A limited liability company formed by All Pro Capital of Colorado Springs sold the 33-year-old Villages at Lionstone apartments this month for $40.5 million, just 20 months after buying it for $28.1 million - a $12 million price appreciation that illustrates the demand for apartments on the part of investors.

The sellers had renovated the clubhouse, pool area and about 30 percent of the 288 units, which enabled them to hike monthly rents by $150, according to Kevin McKenna, executive managing director in the Denver office of ARA Newmark, who represented the All Pro company in the transaction.

"It is certainly impressive appreciation," McKenna said Wednesday. "The last few years of rent growth (in Colorado Springs) have propped up those percentages quite a bit. They (the sellers) did very well and the market will continue to do well for owners across the city."

The average rent in the Colorado Springs area jumped nearly $200 a month, or 21.2 percent to $1,141.40 between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of this year, according to a report by the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado. While vacancy rates at the end of the second quarter were higher at 6.4 percent than the 5 percent at the end of 2015, they remain low by historical standards.

"The demand for apartments has never been greater" among investors, McKenna said. "There isn't too much new product in the market, people are moving here, there is good demand for rental housing as well as good wage growth."

The complex at 255 Lionstone Drive, southeast of Platte Avenue and Murray Boulevard, was sold to Ninth Street Properties, which appears to be controlled by American Capital Realty Partners, one of the largest multifamily property management companies in Southern California and central Colorado.

Villages at Lionstone offers open floor plans, a fitness center, clubhouse, spa, a solar-powered heated laundry facility, swimming pool, fire pit, barbecue areas, playground, carports and a dog run.

All Pro President Brian Bahr said Wednesday that his company, which "specializes in finding overlooked opportunities and solving problems, was able to sell at an attractive price that exceeded our proformas (forecasts). Demand for apartments is very high and that is why were are building three more complexes and about to start another."

Three complexes under construction in Castle Rock, near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and just west of downtown, and another to break ground later this year in the Spring Creek development southeast of downtown, will add about 300 units, he said.

The Villages at Lionstone sale is the third transaction of more than $40 million involving a Colorado Springs apartment complex during the past month. Griffis/Blessing Inc. paid $41.1 million for the 280-unit Lamplight Square at the Park Apartments in northern Colorado Springs last week. And New York City-based Rivendell Global Real Estate paid $44.5 million last month for the 194-unit Commons at Briargate - a record price of $229,000 per unit for a Springs-area apartment property - in another deal handled by McKenna and an ARA Newmark colleague.

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