(Posted from The Daily Journal)
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With the Bay Area’s economic boom resonating across the globe, a foreign investment firm picked up a newly constructed San Mateo apartment complex for $73.6 million this week.
Mode Apartments, an 111-unit multifamily complex on 2 acres at 2089 Pacific Blvd., was sold by developer Wood Partners LLC to Land and Houses USA Inc., a small subsidiary of the Thailand-based, publicly traded Land and Houses Public Company Limited.
The new site comprised of two three-story buildings housing a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and boasting a fitness room, resident lounge, clubroom, fire pits and more, was completed late last year.
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The luxury apartments rent for an increasingly standard steep range between $2,800 a month for a less than 800-square-foot one-bedroom unit and almost $5,000 per month for 1,500-square-foot three-bedroom unit.
The purchase sets the average apartment value at around $663,000 per unit and, according to San Mateo’s Finance Director Dave Culver, the sale will extend $368,000 in one-time property transfer taxes to the city.
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While offshore investments are nothing new, interest is trending and there has been a shift in purchasing methods, said Phil Saglimbeni, first vice president of investments at Institutional Property Advisors, who brokered the sale.
“We are seeing an uptick, but it’s a very specific type of asset these foreign investors are looking for. They like class A assets,” Saglimbeni said. “The brand-new stuff like Mode is not very complicated. They buy it, hire a management company and put it on the shelf. Their motivations are multifold — a lot of it has to do with hedging or risk diversification out of their home country. And it also has to do with the Bay Area and how explosive the economy has been. Whether it’s foreign or domestic, people just want to be in this market.”
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Until a few years ago, it was more common for foreign investors to create a joint venture with a U.S.-based firm to acquire properties and the public wouldn’t typically know of the offshore involvement, Saglimbeni said. However, foreign companies are increasingly starting to directly source real estate deals on their own, Saglimbeni said.
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Mode was the second deal Saglimbeni said he’s conducted with Land and Houses and he’s also in the middle of a transaction for a Redwood City property with a Singapore-based group.
Wood Partners’ completion of Mode is the second luxury apartment community it’s finished in the Bay Area having sold an Oakland development for $103.2 million in 2013, according to a Wood Partners press release.
The San Mateo apartments sit on the site of a former commercial printing facility and are close to Caltrain as well as major employers such as Oracle, Visa, Gilead and Franklin Templeton Investments, according to Wood Partners.
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The area is proving to be popular for large-scale sales. A few blocks north, the site of the proposed 599-unit mixed-use residential Station Park Green project next to the Hayward Park Caltrain Station sold to Essex Property and Trust for $67 million Tuesday. Last month, DivcoWest spent more than $130 million to buy the fully-leased 210,000 square-foot office complex at 700-900 Concar Drive that’s home to Salesforce and four other tenants.
With job growth booming, rental prices skyrocketing and inventory selling at a premium, Saglimbeni said companies around the world are looking to buy in.
“Whether it’s commercial or residential, we are over the last three, four, five years seeing more interest from offshore capital than we had historically,” Saglimbeni said. “[Demand] for well-located U.S. real estate has been on the rise.”
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