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    CHR: Renters snap up new apartments in Norwood

    Chestnut Hill Realty, a real estate company also known as CHR, said it was able to lease 54 new apartments in Norwood complex called Norwest Woods within three months of those apartments going on the market, another sign of a tight rental market in Greater Boston.

    During the fourth quarter of 2011, the vacancy rate for the local rental market dropped to a nine-year low of 4 percent, and rents were at record highs, according to data from Reis Inc., a New York company that tracks real estate activity. Those trends were largely driven by an insufficient inventory of rental housing to meet increased demand, analysts said. During tough economic times, many people have chosen to live in rental housing rather than become home owners.

    Chestnut Hill Realty said it recently completed contruction of the final phase of an upgrade project at Norwest Woods. The final phase was the building of 54 one-bedroom apartments. The entire project called for the construction of four buildings with a total of 91 apartments. The upgrade project began in 2008, the firm said. The existing complex had 322 apartments. With the completion of the upgrade project, Norwest Woods now has 406 apartments. (A few older apartments were eliminated from the mix.)


    Citing data from Marcus & Millichap, a national real estate investment and research firm, Chestnut Hill Realty noted that 644 new apartment units were built in the Greater Boston area in 2011. The new apartments at Norwest Woods represented 8.4 percent of that total.

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    “Although the demand for apartment space has risen sharply in Eastern Massachusetts, a distressed economy and high barriers to entry have prevented production from keeping pace,” Edward Zuker, founder and chief executive of Chestnut Hill Realty, said in a statement. “This new construction helps meet an important need in the region.”

    Established in 1969, Chestnut Hill Realty owns and manages about 4,000 units in 30 apartment communities in Greater Boston and Rhode Island.

    Chris Reidy can be reached at