The Top 5 Apartment Owners, Managers

Five starNational Multi Housing Council just released this year’s NMHC 50 – a ranking of the top apartment owners and managers around the country.

The five largest apartment owners in the country are:

St. Paul’s MMA Financial, LLC (186,459 units);
Boston’s Boston Capital (171,267 units);
Denver’s AIMCO (158,950 units);
Los Angeles’s SunAmerica Affordable Housing Partners, Inc. (152,315 units); and Chicago’s Equity Residential (148,115 units).

A firm had to own 21,190 units to make the NMHC 50 owners list; the median owner has 41,945 units.

As of January 1, 2009 the top 50 apartment owners held 2.84 million apartments, or 16.2 percent of the nations estimated 18 million apartments. There were six new firms added to the NMHC 50 owners this year: National Equity Fund, Inc. (No. 6), DRA Advisors LLC (No. 23), Bell Partners (No. 26), Empire American Holdings, LLC (No. 28), JRK Property Holdings, Inc. (No. 32), and The Bascom Group, LLC (No. 33).

The five largest apartment managers in the country are:

Seattle’s Pinnacle (185,219 units);
Dallas’s Riverstone Residential, A CAS Partners Company (181,928 units);
Denver’s AIMCO (154,987 units);
Chicago’s Equity Residential (148,115 units); and
Houston’s Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC (140,000 units).

A firm had to manage 23,730 apartments to make the NMHC 50 managers list; the median manager controls 37,871 units. Six new firms joined the NMHC 50 managers this year: Empire American Holdings (No. 24), JRK Property Holdings, Inc. (No. 30), The John Stewart Company (No. 35), AMLI Residential Properties (No. 48), RAM Partners, LLC (No. 49), and Southern Management Corporation (No. 50).

“All in all, there were fewer changes in this year’s NMHC 50 than we anticipated, given the turbulence of the economic environment today,” said Mark Obrinsky, NMHC’s Chief Economist. “Part of that is explained by a dramatic drop in property sales as a result of the credit crisis. Overall, transaction volume fell by more than 60 percent last year.”

“Still, almost $38 billion in apartment properties changed hands, and NMHC 50 owners were prominent both as buyers and as sellers,” added Obrinsky. “This led to a few notable changes in this year’s rankings.”

For the first time in 11 years, AIMCO was neither the largest, nor the second-largest, apartment owner, having slipped to No. 3 after net sales of 38,208 apartments. MMA Financial is now the nation’s largest apartment owner. The St. Paul, MN-based firm owns 186,459 apartments.

While some apartment owners were large sellers, others took advantage of the economic uncertainty to expand their portfolios. Among the acquirers, Pinnacle stood out with the biggest gain, adding a net 16,048 to its ownership portfolio. The firm is now the 10th largest apartment owner in the nation.

For the first time in 12 years, there are only two public real estate investment trusts (REITs) among the top 10 owners. There are now 11 REITs in the top 50 owners, down from a high of 14 in 2005, and their total apartment holdings has slipped to the lowest share of the overall market since 1997.

On the management list, after seven years in the No. 3 slot and one year at No. 2, Pinnacle finally moved into the top slot in the NMHC 50 management rankings. Riverstone Residential moved up a slot to No. 2 this year after adding more than 26,000 units to its portfolio.

As was the case on the owners list, there were some large net acquirers among the NMHC 50 managers. In fact, 2008 saw the biggest management portfolio gain in 10 years by Greystar Real Estate Partners, which added 46,046 apartments to its fold.
Highlights of this year’s survey follow, and a complete analysis of the results is available at or by calling 202/974-2300.

See Apartment Associations Seek to Restore Access to Capital.

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