Burnsville continues to attract investors eager to snap up and upgrade older apartment properties.

The latest transaction involves the Atrium and Trailway Pond Apartments, purchased by Philadelphia-based Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. It's the first multiunit housing investment in the Twin Cities for Equus, which also owns and operates two metro-area office parks — Grand Oak in Eagan and Metropoint in St. Louis Park.

Terms of the Atrium and Trailway deal were not disclosed. The two properties have a total of 588 apartments and were owned by CASA Partners III, a fund related to London-based Henderson Global Investors. CASA paid $24.3 million for them, according to Dakota County property records.

Equus said it will spend $4.5 million to renovate the apartments and common areas of both complexes.

Burnsville finished 2013 as one of the Twin Cities' most active markets for buyers of large rental properties.

Just before the end of the year, Nicollet Ridge Apartments, a 339-unit complex at 51 McAndrews Road, changed hands. The new owner is an affiliate of Resource REIT, a Philadelphia-based real estate investment trust, which paid $33.1 million for the property, according to documents filed with the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Earlier in 2013, KES Holdings LLC of Edina paid $5.1 million for Southcross Village Townhomes, a 60-unit complex at 14800 County Road 5. Southwind Village, a 320-unit property at 15001 Greenhaven Drive, was purchased for $31.3 million by Virtu Investments of Carlsbad, Calif. Minneapolis-based Pro One Management acquired the Burningham Apartments at 1501-1513 Burnsville Pkwy. E. from Johnson Management Co. for $15.8 million.

Homebuilding up

Homebuilding in the Twin Cities continues to be up from a year ago, but the pace is slowing, according to the latest figures from the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

The metro area recorded 1,028 homebuilding permits through the end of March, up from 1,007 for the same three-month period in 2013. A slowdown in multiunit construction appears to be contributing to the decline. Permit totals for March this year were flat compared with the same month in 2013.

Lakeville continued to rank as the metro area's busiest single-family homebuilding market, with 82 permits for the first three months of the year, one less than a year ago. Multifamily housing accounted for much of the activity in Eagan, which recorded 30 permits for 231 units through the end of March.

Apple Valley and Roseville each had 12 permits for the three-month period, while Farmington had 21, Inver Grove Heights had 13, Hastings had three and Mendota Heights had one. Burnsville has recorded no new housing permits this year, according to the builders' group.

Send your Dakota County business news to susan.feyder@startribune.com.