Spurred by a hot multifamily market, Decron Properties Corp. recently looked outside the core coastal communities and purchased more than 260 former condos in Valencia for nearly $57 million.

The Los Angeles-based real estate investment company said Monday it acquired 264 converted apartment units at The Madison at Town Center luxury complex. The price per unit was about 40 percent below what the average condominium sold for during the boom years, the firm said in a news release.

While the condo market continues to struggle, investors and developers have jumped headfirst into apartments. Real estate moguls say population growth, a tight lending environment for single-family homes and a desire to live near work in an age of high gas prices will return profit for years to come.

That rush into apartments, Decron said, has pushed the company to look at less “traditional” acquisitions such as the Madison deal. Decron purchased The Madison apartment units from Prado Town Center West LLC—a partnership between national homebuilder Lennar and Los Angeles-based Regent Properties.

“We are actively looking for deals to expand our multifamily holdings, but there’s not a lot of product available that meets our investment criteria,” David Nagel, president of Decron Properties said in a statement. “We were excited about acquiring The Madison because it’s a premier property, priced well below replacement cost.”

In 2005 during the midst of the real estate boom, Prado Town Center West purchased the 341-unit apartment community and converted the units into condominiums, Decron said.

The partnership purchased the complex at 24555 Town Center Drive for about $91.5 million, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based real estate data provider.

But hard times followed.

Prado sold 77 units to individuals between 2006 and 2007 and converted the remaining 264 units to rentals, Decron said.

Representatives from Lennar and Regent did not return calls seeking comment.

Executive Vice President Laurie Lustig-Bower and Vice Chairman Tyler Anderson of CBRE Group Inc. represented Prado in the transaction.

The residential complex is about 95 percent occupied, Lustig-Bower said.

The luxury community—adjacent to the Valencia Country Club and Westfield Valencia Town Center—has a fitness center, aerobics studio and a resort-style pool and spa.

Rent for one bedroom units starts at $1,395 per month, while two bedroom units and three bedroom units start at $1,800 and $2,325 respectively, according to the community’s website.

“It is in the Beverly Hills of Santa Clarita,” Lustig-Bower said.

Decron said it is looking to acquire more “busted condos,” rent them out and then sell the units once the condo market recovers.