A 3D render of Ltd. Med Center, a contemporary-style community in Houston.

MAA Reclaims Top Spot in NMHC’s Ranking of Top 50 Apartment Owners

by Channing Hamilton

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA) has reclaimed the title of largest apartment owner in the U.S., up from the No. 2 spot a year ago. Even though MAA owns fewer units today than it did in 2022, when its portfolio size was 100,002 units, the company dethroned Starwood Capital Group from the top of this year’s list. MAA previously held the No. 1 spot in 2021.

The newly released ranking from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) shows Germantown, Tennessee-based MAA owned 99,676 units at the end of 2022, followed by Greystar Real Estate Partners with 98,860 units and Morgan Properties with 93,594 units.

According to the public REIT’s fourth quarter results for 2022, MAA closed on the disposition of two communities in Savannah, Georgia, and one in Charlotte, North Carolina, for combined gross proceeds of approximately $125 million. 

Starwood Capital Group, which took first place last year, did not submit new data for 2023’s list. As a result, the company did not appear in this year’s Top 50. Starwood owned 115,056 units, per last year’s survey.

Greystar Real Estate Partners took second place, with 98,860 units. Last year, Greystar placed at No. 5, with 80,121 units. The rest of the top five was rounded out by Morgan Properties (93,594 units), AvalonBay Communities (80,325 units) and Equity Residential (79,594). All three companies reported owning fewer units than in 2022.

According to NMHC, these numbers are emblematic of a tumultuous year for multifamily in 2022. The first quarter of 2022 saw high transaction volume and narrow bid and ask margins, but the second half of the year was characterized by an unstable economy with high inflation, slower rent growth and increasing vacancy rates.

“While 2022 was something of a confusing year for multifamily businesses, the reality continues to be that the nation needs more housing supply,” said NMHC President Sharon Wilson Géno, who stepped into the role of president earlier this year. “The underlying fundamentals point to greater demand over the coming years, and we need more housing of all types to lower housing costs and expand availability.”

Replacing Starwood in the top 10 was Cortland, a multifamily investment, development and management company headquartered in Atlanta. Cortland did not appear in 2022’s list but was No. 11 in 2021. This year, Cortland came in at No. 6, with 77,407 units.

Based in Washington, D.C., NMHC is a nonprofit organization that donates to and supports candidates that pledge support for the apartment housing industry. NMHC also advocates for policies that encourage the development of new housing supply, while also discouraging policies such as rent control. NMHC’s members include apartment owners, developers, managers, investors and suppliers of goods and services to the multifamily industry.

The NMHC Top Owners List rankings are based on self-reported data on portfolio size as of January 1. According to NMHC, “owners” comprise partial or full owners of multifamily properties, including student, military and age-restricted housing.

The survey excludes condominiums, nursing homes, mobile homes and single-family rental houses or communities. In the case of partnerships and investment funds, the owner is the entity – typically the managing general partner – that exercises effective control over the asset.

NMHC states that the Top 50 owners command 2.4 million units, which represents more than 10 percent of the total stock of apartments in the nation.

Click here for the full Top 50.

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