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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / REAL ESTATE

Upscale Units Part of 16% Hike in Multifamily Complex Construction

February 20, 2001|DARYL STRICKLAND

Builders are recognizing there's money to be made in the rental market, particularly in the upscale niche.

Construction of multifamily complexes--apartments, condos, townhouses--surged 16% to 5,406 units last year in Orange County, and most of the new building involved upscale rental units, real estate analysts said.

The demand for pricier rental accommodations--one-bedroom units usually rent

for $1,300 or more a month in this category--is

an outgrowth of the super-heated housing market, featuring record prices that have put

single-family homes out of the reach of many prospective buyers.

"Developers will build where demand is," said Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi.

Indeed, there should be plenty of renters for landlords to choose from. Although housing starts in Orange County are expected to grow about 8% to 13,000 this year, that still will be about 1,000 units short of meeting demand, Adibi estimates.

Daryl Strickland covers real estate for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5670 and at daryl.strickland@latimes.com.

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