Consolidated Capital, absent from the California marketplace for a few years, is holding onto properties elsewhere but has acquired about $120 million in California real estate during the past 12 months, with about 70% purchased since January, according to Thomas Trimble, senior vice president of property acquisitions for the Emeryville-based firm. Its latest acquisition, a $4.1-million commercial building in Orange, was announced last week.
"We're still in Texas, unfortunately," Larry Carlin of Los Angeles-based R&B Enterprises said, but R&B is also still holding onto California properties it has had for years. The firm owns commercial properties in several states, but it owns or manages about 25,000 apartments, mostly in California, although it also owns 6,500 units in Houston, where oil-industry cutbacks hit heaviest.
There probably are some real estate bargains in Texas, said Gary Aminoff, whose Beverly Hills firm has been in and out of Texas in apartment investments, "but it's too risky for me."
Not for J. D. Alexander, who left his asset-management and syndication office in L. A. a couple of months ago to run the San Antonio investment brokerage arm of Compass Property Management, which his firm merged with in the past few months.
"I believe that within two years, Texas will again become the fastest-growing area of the U. S.," he predicted.
"The reasons?" "Because all the facilities and government structures are in for the cities to grow. Texas is ripe for industries to come in, and its cities are offering major concessions to outside employers.
"Texas is more motivated than other parts of the country to attract businesses. It is in the Sun Belt. And it has more room to grow than most industrial cities of the country."
Besides, he reasons, "now there's a rush of money flooding into California, chasing too few deals. That will again drive California prices above national prices, which is why people left before."
Norman Jacobson, whose L. A. firm has been putting together partnerships to buy apartments in Northern California for some time, agreed that "it's true--the syndicators who left California are coming back, but all that glitters is not gold, and unless it is structured to make sense, a deal--even in the best part of California--can go bad."
The California market is 'a whole big country all by itself.'