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Greystar once again tops property management rankings

RPM Living, Morgan Properties, Harbor Group and Avenue5 all add over 10,000 units to portfolio in 2021.

Last week, Multi-Housing News released its “Top 50 Multifamily Property Management Firms of 2022”, including self-reported operating data from some of the largest U.S. management firms and analysis on the multifamily industry.

While the data does not include all major multifamily property management companies, with several notable firms not participating (Cortland, MAA and Alliance Residential) each year, it does include units managed and occupancy rates for most major players in 2021, and paints a decent picture on the size and movement of established property management firms over the past year.

According to the rankings report, the Top 50 includes a combined 3.05 million units under management, with the average participant portfolio increasing an average of 10% between 2020 and 2021. MHN attributes this to continued expansion across regions and assets types, and says that thirty of the 50 companies had occupancy rates of 95 percent for better.

FinLedger also looked at last year’s rankings, which included data from 2019 and 2020, in order to show a larger sample size and give additional historical context. You can find a data visualization, with option to filter firms by overall portfolio units, at the bottom of this story.

Top 50 Multifamily Property Management Rankings

Greystar Real Estate Partners topped the list for the second year in a row, with just over 700,000 units under management (UM) in 2021 and a 94.4% portfolio occupancy rate (PO). While the firm’s total management portfolio did fall 27,497 units from its 2020 total (-3.92%), it still manages over three times as many units as the next largest firm, Lincoln Property Company (210,086 UM).

Lincoln also finished second for the second year in a row, with its total units managed decreasing by 97 units from 2020 to 2021 (210,086 UM); while the company stayed pretty steady in terms of unit volume, it also increased its tenant occupancy across its portfolio by 2.6% (95.3% in 2021). Cushman & Wakefield took third again as well, adding 3,049 units in 2021 for a total management portfolio of 166,271, and did not disclose portfolio occupancy rates.

Other notable firms in the 2022 Top 10 include No. 4 RPM Living (112,872 Units Managed), No. 5 FPI Management (139,852), No. 6 Morgan Properties (95,440), No. 7 BH Cos. (106,353), No. 8 Avenue5 Residential (86,958), No. 9 Bozzuto (83,324) and No. 10 Highmark Residential (75,712).

Occupancy rates increase

Almost all of these firms also improved occupancy rates, with the largest improvement shown by Bozzuto, which increased its units managed by 3.89% and occupancy rates by 4% in 2021. Despite this, the East Coast-based developer and manager fell from fourth in MHN’s Top 50 rankings to ninth overall.

Additional companies with 98%+ portfolio occupancy rates include Habitat America LLC, The Breeden Co., and Burton Carol Management LLC, with the report also noting that occupancy rates among respondents increased 2% to 95% overall.

The report attributes this to multifamily property management companies overcoming pandemic-related restrictions and near all-time high occupancy rates in suburban zones and the Sun Belt, Midwest and Southwest. As a result it says established property management firms will be critical in maximizing this increased opportunity.

Largest unit volume growth

Vesta Realty saw the largest percentage growth in 2021, growing its 3,636 multifamily units under management in 2020 by 40.61% to 8,953 in 2021, followed by IDM Cos., which grew 30.45% to 6,390 UM. S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. ranked third in percentage growth (28.2%), adding 9,284 units to its management portfolio, and also was the top firm in terms of portfolio occupancy (98.3%).

RPM Living showed the list’s largest overall unit volume growth, adding 31,286 units in 2021 for a 27.72% increase in its portfolio. Founded in 2002, this unit volume growth highlights the firm’s ongoing expansion efforts through the past few years, with RPM organically adding 19,000 units in 2020 and 58,000 units via its merger with CF Real Estate Services in January 2021 for a 112,872 unit increase from 2019 through 2021.

Other firms showing large unit volume growth include:

  • No. 6 Morgan Properties: added 22,012 units in 2021 (23.06%), and increased its portfolio size by 41,315 units since 2019.
  • No. 13 Harbor Group International: added 13,212 units in 2021 (24.58%), and increased its portfolio size by 21,913 units since 2019.
  • No. 5 FPI Management: added 12,311 units in 2021 (8.8%), and did not disclose portfolio size in 2019.
  • No. 8 Avenue5 Residential: added 11,086 units in 2021 (12.75%), and increased its portfolio size by 19,100 units since 2019.

Portfolio downsizing

Property Management firms on the list which saw decreases in total unit volume during 2021 include:

  • Envolve Communities: dropped 5,216 units (-18.43%) to 28,295 units in 2021, but still saw a 3,338-unit increase since 2019.
  • Presidium: dropped 1,753 units (-29.61%) to 5,921 units in 2021, accounting for the largest decrease in overall portfolio units on the list.
  • Balfour Beatty Communities: dropped 2,263 units (-4.7%) to 48,150 units in 2021, totaling a 956 loss in units since 2019.
  • Indigo Real Estate: dropped 901 units (-9.52%) to 9,462 units in 2021, falling from 10,363 in 2020.
  • Inland Real Estate Group: dropped 580 units (-2.72%) to 21,357 units in 2021, but still saw a 1,437-unit increase since 2019 (19,920 UM).
  • Related Cos.: dropped 200 units (-0.33%) in 2021, keeping its units managed just over 60,000.

The rankings report also noted that assets in gateway markets were the slowest to recover, but “still showed significant growth as many young people returned to urban cores across the country.” It also claims that multifamily property demand will continue, due to inflation and increase interest rates driving homeownership “out of reach for the average household.”

You can find more information on unit volume changes below, with the graph enabling sorting by 2021 portfolio unit size. All information available via Multi-Housing news 2022 and 2021 Top Multifamily Property Management

In other recent proptech news, mutifamily operating proptech Entrata hired Scott Allan as its new SVP of Sales. Agora also raised a $20 million Series A to expand its real estate-focused investment management platform.

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