Atlanta-based REIT Post Properties reported some of the strongest first quarter earnings for the industry on Tuesday. Dave Stockert, president of Post, said that its 7.8 percent same store year-over-year growth in revenue is the best year-over-year apartment growth posted by any apartment REIT this cycle.

“We couldn’t be happier with that result,” Stockert said. “Strength is fairly solid across our markets, we are producing solidly, increasing rents year-over-year and sequentially, and maintaining high average occupancy.”  

The 7.8 percent increase resulted in a 10.9 percent increase in same store NOI. The average economic occupancy at the company’s 50 same store communities was 95.8 percent and 94.8 percent for the first quarter of 2012 and 2011, respectively.

“Our operating margins have improved year-over-year by nearly 2 percent,” Stockert said. “Although turnover has picked up a bit, due largely to price, we are back filling vacating units and maintaining a lower 60-day exposure than at this time last year.”

Stockert does expect year-over-year revenue growth to begin slowing somewhat in the second-half of the year as the company homogenizes and increases rents, which could result in more difficult comparisons to prior year quarters.

Post’s net income for the first quarter included a gain of $6.1 million on the sale of its interest in Post Biltmore in Atlanta, held in an unconsolidated joint venture entity where Post owned a 35 percent interest.

“In short, the game plan we laid out to focus on operations, reduce the cost of our debt capital, convert condo inventory to cash and put land into production is working and is producing the intended results for the company,” Stockert said.