When reporting its first quarter 2012 earnings on Friday, Houston-based Camden Property Trust said that renter nation has led it to a great start in 2012. Camden saw its best quarterly same property net operating income (NOI) growth rate in the past 15 years. And same property NOI for the company’s 47,724 units increased 9.6 percent from the first quarter of 2011.

Funds from operations were up 15 percent year-over-year and occupancy averaged 94.9 percent. But the most discussion came over where rental rates stand and how high they could potentially go moving forward.

“The fact that the turnover rate was up roughly 6 percent on the year-over-year basis does reflect partially on the fact that we pushed the heck out of rents,” said Camden’s CEO Rick Campo. “But the flipside of that was we had sufficient traffic to be able to do it and we’ll continue to do that as we think the tradeoff makes sense.”

The company said it doesn’t view new supply as a threat until at least 2014. Increases in its customer’s annual income makes it easier to increase rent, an industry-wide trend Camden believes has not yet peaked.  

In January, Camden purchased the remaining 80 percent ownership stake in 12 joint ventures for a sum of $99.5 million. The 4,034 units are located in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern California. The four metro areas where Camden saw the highest percentages of revenue growth were Dallas, South Florida, Houston and Phoenix.

“This is one of those quarters that makes me reluctant to talk much about it for fear of jinxing any subsequent quarters,” said Camden’s president Keith Oden. “Virtually every metric we use to monitor the conditions on the ground at our communities is either very good or excellent,” he added.

Camden’s guidance for the current quarter calls for same-property revenue growth between 4.75 and 6.25 percent. It expects NOI growth between 6 and 8 percent.