NMHC Compensation Survey Shows Small Merit Increases

The strong performance of the multifamily market will translate into small merit-based pay increases, according to the National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC’s) annual National Apartment Survey of Compensation and Benefits Practices.

The 2007 survey results are based on responses from 112 companies representing almost 49,000 employees.

The 2007 survey also indicates that efforts to reduce employee turnover have been effective and that firms are being challenged by rising healthcare costs.

Companies forecast that individuals at the vice president level and above will receive an average 3.8 percent merit increase in 2007.

Managers below the vice president level can expect merit increases of 3.7 percent on average. Hourly and non-supervisory employees such as leasing consultants are expected to see the smallest average merit increase, at 3.6 percent.

Firms recorded an overall average turnover rate of 42.8 percent this year. That’s higher than 2006’s turnover rate of 37.2 percent. In 2005, the turnover rate was a whopping 59.2 percent.

Median medical benefit costs are forecast to climb 10 percent in 2007 after rising 10 percent in 2005 and 2006, and 11.9 percent in 2004.

Almost 37 percent of companies increased employee contributions to health plans in 2006 and plan to do so again in 2007. Firms are also expanding into prevention and wellness programs.

Sentinel Completes Acquisition of America First

While many real estate investors sit on the sidelines because of the credit crisis, some of the privatization deals involving real estate investment trusts (REITs) are still being completed. Stockholders of America First Apartment Investors, Inc., have approved of that REIT’s takeover by Sentinel Real Estate Corp.

The deal was expected to close before press time. Under the terms of the deal, the Omaha, Neb.- based REIT will become part of Sentinel’s affiliate, Sentinel White Plain, LLC.

America First’s portfolio includes 31 multifamily assets totaling 7,128 units. Sentinel is based in New York City and manages about $5 billion in real estate assets.

MoneyGram to Acquire PropertyBridge

MoneyGram International, Inc., has reached an agreement to acquire Oakland, Calif.-based PropertyBridge, a provider of electronic payment services to the residential real estate management industry.

The PropertyBridge founding management team and structure will remain in place after the acquisition.

The PropertyBridge name will be retained, and the 25-person company will remain headquartered in California.

PropertyBridge will operate as part of MoneyGram’s Global Payment Services group. PropertyBridge processes the largest dollar volume of automated payments in the multifamily housing industry. Through its PropertyBridge Payments Platform, consumers pay rent and other leaserelated transactions using any of seven payment types.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.