A team of multi-family specialists from Colliers International recently closed three separate multi-family housing transactions throughout Southern California for a total consideration of more than $6 million, company officials have announced.

Vice President Patrick Swanson led the Irvine-based team in selling a total of 36 apartment units, including 17 units in Orange County and 19 in San Bernardino County.

In Orange County, the team sold two notable multi-family properties. The first transaction was composed of 12 apartment units at 409-415 E. Pine St. in Santa Ana. The second Orange County transaction consisted of five units at 14801 Newport Ave. in Tustin.

After multiple offers were received, the Santa Ana property sold for $1.898 million, or $158,167 per unit, with a capitalization rate of 5.23 percent. The property includes 8 two-bedroom, one-bath and 4 one-bedroom, one-bath apartment units. The Tustin property, which is composed of 5 two-bedroom, two-bath units, sold $81,000 above list price for $1.180 million, or $236,000 per unit, with a cap rate of 4.52 percent.

Private capital transactions are growing in demand, according to Swanson.

“These transactions are a reflection of the strength of the Orange County multi-family housing market,” said Swanson. “With Orange County having one of the highest cost barriers in the nation for those seeking to own a home, demand for rental units is robust and it’s only getting stronger.”

Another reason demand is rising is that new construction of multi-family housing has not kept pace with Orange County’s population growth. Swanson cited the latest population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that Orange County gained 29,008 residents during 2012-2013, but had less than 5,000 apartment units under construction in those years.

Meantime, the lower returns and tough competition among buyers in Orange County has led some investors to seek higher returns elsewhere, Swanson noted. The team sold 19 single-story, garden-style apartments in San Bernardino County at 13626 Holmes St., Yucaipa, for a total consideration of $2.025 million. The property consists of 15 two-bedroom, two-bath and 4 one-bedroom, one-bath units with washer/dryer hookups and direct access garages. Pricing was $106,579 per unit with a cap rate of 6.35 percent.

“With Orange County cap rates compressing in 2014 to approximately 5.25 percent, this sale is a great example of an Orange County investor seeking a high-quality asset with higher returns in a tertiary market,” said Swanson. “The demand for rental housing is certainly not limited to Orange County, but is soaring in many areas of Southern California.”