Washington, D.C.–Once a niche specialty, affordable housing has become a major player in the multifamily industry. That’s one takeaway from the latest ranking of the industry’s largest owners and managers released recently by the National Multi Housing Council, contained in a report called “2011 NMHC 50.”
It’s easy to see that affordable housing is now top of the heap: the top four spots on the owners list this year are occupied by affordable housing providers in the form of tax credit syndicators. In order from no. 1 to no. 4, they are Boston Capital, Centerline Capital Group, Boston Financial Investment Management L.P. and SunAmerica Affordable Housing Partners Inc. Both Centerline Capital and Boston Financial were not on the list in 2010.
The number of REITs on the entire owners list is down to 10, from a high of 14 in 2005, and the listed REITs now represent the smallest share (3.4 percent) of the overall apartment market since 1997. Just two of the top 10 owners, Equity Residential (No. 5) and AIMCO (No. 7), are public REITs. Rounding out the top 10 list were PNC Tax Credit Capital (No. 6), Enterprise Community Investment Inc. (No. 9), and the Richman Group Affordable Housing Corp. (No. 10).
On the whole, 2010 was a year of shrinking portfolios among the largest owners. Six of the top 10 firms decreased the size of their ownership portfolios, led by AIMCO’s net selloff of 22,254 units.
On the NMHC 50 management list, Greystar Real Estate Partners L.L.C. recorded the largest growth, adding 33,541 apartments to take the No. 1 spot. It was the third year in a row that Greystar posted the largest portfolio gain. CAPREIT Inc. was the second-biggest gainer on the NMHC 50 managers list, more than doubling its management portfolio last year to enter the NMHC 50 Managers list at No. 42.
The rankings this year come against a backdrop of a strong market for multifamily owners and managers. According to the “2011 NMHC 50,” the popularity of renting last year increased to its highest level since 1998, which meant higher occupancy rates nationwide even though the economy only experienced modest job growth.