Dave Woodward and Ronald Ladell
Dave Woodward and Ronald Ladell

As rent growth begins to plateau, finding market inefficiencies becomes more critical than ever for apartment owners.

For Ronald Ladell, senior vice president at AvalonBay Communities (AVB), and James Schloemer, CEO at Continental Properties, building signature brands has been one way to differentiate themselves and, in the process, secure rents that can boost return.

For AVB, the introduction of its Ava and Eaves brands in 2012 provided a successful segmentation of its properties for different rental cohorts. For Continental, the selling point is gated properties that offer a feeling of exclusivity in its markets.

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Meanwhile, Brookfield has sometimes moved the needle by making large, entity-level purchases, such as Associated Estates, according to David Woodward, managing partner, head of multifamily.

But as rents rise, stretching the budgets of many occupants, and the acquisition markets make finding a reasonable return harder than ever, some apartment companies are considering new strategies. Continental, for example, is now looking at offering a no-frills property that could lessen the monthly cost for its residents.