Equity residential to sell properties for up to $1.5 billion

, Bloomberg

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Equity Residential, the largest publicly traded U.S. apartment landlord, agreed to sell 27 properties to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC for as much as $1.5 billion.

The transaction values the apartments at about $187,000 per unit, Chicago-based Equity Residential said in a statement Monday. The joint venture is obligated to purchase at least $1.38 billion of assets. The 8,010 units are located Florida, Washington, D.C., northern New Jersey, , Phoenix, Denver, Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area.

The Florida properties being sold total 1,896 unit. The price is $276.7 million, according to the statement.

Equity Residential said in November it would sell some assets after agreeing to buy part of rival landlord Archstone Inc. from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a deal that will boost holdings in cities where it already has properties.

"With this transaction we will have made significant progress selling assets in our exit markets and non-core assets in primary markets to fund our share of the acquisition of Archstone," David J. Neithercut, Equity Residential's president and chief executive officer, said in the statement. "Demand for multifamily assets remains very strong."

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of March. Equity Residential owns or has investments in 412 properties in 13 states and Washington, D.C.

Equity Residential agreed to purchase 60 percent of Archstone in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $6.5 billion. AvalonBay Communities Inc., the second-biggest publicly traded apartment landlord, is buying the other 40 percent.

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