Tax Credit Syndicators Climb to Top of NMHC List as Largest Owners of Apartments

Tax Credit Syndicators Climb to Top of NMHC List as Largest Owners of Apartments

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the apartment industry made a strong recovery in 2010, as reflected by the National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC’s) annual ranking of the largest apartment owners and 50 largest managers. One of the key changes found in the NMHC ranking is that affordable housing providers, in the form of tax credit syndicators, have climbed to the top of the list as the largest owners of apartments.

The top four slots on the 2011 NMHC 50 owners list are now held by affordable housing firms Boston Capital (No. 1, 158,947 units), Centerline Capital Group (No. 2, 152,600 units), Boston Financial Investment Management, LP (No. 3, 145,454 units), and SunAmerica Affordable Housing Partners (No. 4, 141,113 units).

“The popularity of renting increased to its highest level since 1998,” noted Mark Obrinsky, MNHC’s chief economist. “This translated into higher occupancy rates across the country even though job growth was only modest.” Obrinsky cited the recovery spurring “a rebound in apartment prices and transaction volume, which doubled to $31 billion. And, apartment prices gained substantial ground in 2010 after having fallen by 30 percent or more,” he said.

Many of the changes documented by the 2011 NMHC 50 provide insights into the strategies adopted by apartment firms to survive the economic turmoil and to position themselves for recovery.

Other key findings:

  • Forty-two of the top 50 firms own market-rate apartments, while 33 own tax credit or affordable apartments, and 18 firms have senior housing apartments.
  • Overall, 30 of the NMHC 50 owner firms (including newcomers) were net acquirers of apartments last year, while 20 were net sellers. The net sellers reduced their portfolios by 81,274, while net buyers added a total of 98,817.
  • The NMHC 50 apartment managers operate 2.72 million apartments.