Top 20 Multifamily Developers (National & Regional)
March 29, 2020
Real estate investors can choose to invest in many different commercial real estate sectors. One of the most popular sectors for investment is multifamily, a division of commercial real estate. These are rental structures with five or more units. Surprisingly, projects of less than 5 units are not actually multifamily, rather they are known as residential one to four! Before you invest in this specific sector, you should understand what multifamily development companies do. Also, you should familiarize yourself with the leading multifamily developers nationwide and in selected states. Read on for valuable information you can use to select multifamily development companies for investment.
Video: Multifamily Development Opportunities
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What Does a Multifamily Development Company Do?
Multifamily developers can have several overall areas of responsibility, including:
- Multifamily Development
- Property Management
The primary mission of multifamily development companies is to design and manage the construction of multifamily projects. Design tasks include planning and reviewing of architectural/engineering plans. The best companies have won design awards. The construction component must guarantee the project meets requirements for quality, budget, and timeliness. Typically, the developer hires contractors, writes contracts, creates value-engineering plans, and provides management support for its projects. The developer may employ architects and engineers or oversee the work of external technical resources. Naturally, the developer works closely with lenders, such as Assets America®.
Multifamily developers may develop properties on behalf of clients. But they may also sell them or maintain ownership of projects. When the developer is also the landlord, it must provide property management services. The large developers have internal divisions or subsidiaries dedicated to property management. Typical tasks include marketing, leasing, rent collection, maintenance, inspections, legal oversight, and employee management.
Top 10 Multifamily Developers (National)
With hundreds of thousands of new multifamily units each year, the multifamily development industry has experienced steady growth. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic will have a short-term negative impact on growth, but long-term demand will most assuredly recover. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) maintains an annual list of the largest U.S. multifamily developers. The top 10 follow, starting with the largest.
Greystar Real Estate Partners
Greystar, headquartered in Charleston SC, is the country’s largest multifamily developer. Bob Faith founded the company in the early 1990s and grew the company to 14,000 employees. It manages 500,000 residential units and the value of assets under management exceeds $26 billion.
Mill Creek Residential
This company boasts huge growth since its startup in 2011. Typically, it adds more than 5,000 new units per year. Most of its properties reside in the West, Northeast, and Southwest. William C. MacDonald is the chairman and CEO. The company’s headquarters is in Boca Raton, Florida.
Wood Partners of Atlanta GA is about 20 years old. Today it has 20 offices around the country, including Boston, New York City, Orlando, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Recent new projects include ones in Texas and Colorado. The company has developed more than 79,000 units with a value exceeding $14 billion.
With a portfolio exceeding $20 billion in value, this developer resides in Phoenix AZ. It specializes in the management of assets, investments, and properties. It favors bankruptcy trustee sales, REO purchases, recapitalizations, lease-up management, risk management, and marketing services. The company employs more than 3,500 workers managing projects in more than 20 states.
Lincoln Property Company
Lincoln began in 1965 as a developer of multifamily communities. It resides in Dallas TX. Lincoln specializes in property construction and rehabilitation, environmental management, and property management staffing for property owners and investors. Uniquely, the company manages military housing communities in multiple states.
Trammell Crow Residential
This is a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest CRE developers, Trammell Crow Company. Its headquarters reside in Dallas TX. The company has more than 40 years of experience in multifamily development and property management. Impressively, it has developed more than 250,000 units across the country.
This multifamily, development subsidiary belongs to Lennar, a leading U.S. homebuilder. It specializes in top-quality apartment complexes nationwide. LMC focuses on projects in Arizona, New Jersey, California, New York, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia. Generally, it concentrates on major and expanding CRE markets. Todd Farrell is its president and CEO.
Continental Properties Company, Inc.
The company’s roots begin in 1979 in Menomonee Falls, WI. It manages about 80 apartment complexes and more than 14 million square feet of property. The company builds the Springs Apartments communities, which contain many upscale features.
JPI resides in Irving TX and has developed more than 100,000 units in 340 multifamily communities nationwide. It is a vertically integrated company featuring an in-house construction management subsidiary which acts as the general contractor. Also, it specializes in project capitalizations and asset management. Mark Bryant is managing partner and president.
The Michaels Organization
This Marlton NJ company emphasizes development of both market-rate and affordable housing. The company began more than 40 years ago. It works with a variety of partners, including cities, community groups, and universities to serve the neediest communities. The company has developed more than 400 communities and manages more than 50,000 units nationwide.
Best Multifamily Developers (By State)
Let’s focus on three important states: Texas, Florida, and California.
We already mentioned several Texas-based developers. Two more of the best are:
- Hanover: Located in Houston, this company has a three-decade track record with 56,000 units and $12 billion in project capitalization. The company is vertically integrated, including landscape, architecture, and interior departments. Hanover focuses exclusively on market-rate multifamily development in various product types such as high-rise, mid-rise, suburban, and mixed-use.
- StreetLights Residential: This company designs, develops, builds, finances, and manages multifamily and mixed-use communities. It resides in Dallas and follows a design-driven approach to development. The company focuses on urban areas with the highest home prices per square foot.
- The Bainbridge Companies: Located in Wellington, Bainbridge develops and manages properties of various sizes from 100 to 5,000 units. The company specializes in premium properties and high returns to investors. Services offered include investing, development, construction, renovation, and property management.
- Related Group: This company, founded in 1979, operates out of Miami. It has built, rehabilitated, and managed more than 90,000 apartment and condominium residences. It participates in the luxury, market-rate, affordable, and mixed-use markets.
- Fairfield Residential LLC: Headquartered in San Diego, Fairfield has more than 35 years of experience developing and managing multifamily properties. It boasts 42,300 units in 33 geographical markets, managed by 1,300 employees.
- Universal Paragon Corporation: This company owns and manages properties throughout the state. The company began in 1989. Its major developments include The Baylands, Executive Park, Brisbane Bayshore, Sierra Point, and Candlestick Cove. The company prides itself on responsible environmentalism.
How to Choose the Right Company
If you’re an investor, your selection of the right multifamily development company depends on a number of factors:
- Investment Track Record: What has been the return on investment over the last three years? Will the company accommodate the size of investment you are offering?
- Performance Track Record: How many projects has the company completed and have any failed or gone bankrupt? Has the company developed previous projects that resemble the current investment?
- Stability: How long has the company been in business? Who are the principals and what is their industry experience? What are the company’s cash flows and financial ratios?
- Reviews: What do other investors say about the company? Are there any reviews from partners and/or tenants? Have any regulators acted against the company?
Video: Strategies for Multifamily Developers
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get financing for multifamily development?
In some cases, you can get a bank loan insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But these loans take many months to receive approval and to fund. Private funding sources through Assets America® can provide financing in much shorter time periods.
Where are the best areas for multifamily development in 2020?
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the top four areas for multifamily development were Austin, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Boston. Considering the current uncertainties, it’s hard to say which areas will outperform in 2020.
What does the market forecast look like for 2020?
Coronavirus has been a worldwide financially devastating matter with numerous consequences. One consequence is a lowering of interest rates, with U.S. mortgage rates hitting an all-time low. For the long-term investor, this may represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in multifamily commercial real estate.