Strike when the iron's hot--and right now, the apartment  market is red hot.

The Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto reports on Equity Residential's planned sale of 23,000 apartment units--about a quarter of Equity Residential's portfolio--for $5.4 billion to Starwood Capital Group.

Zell is no stranger to calling the top of the market--back in 2007, he sold Equity Office Properties Trust to Blackstone for $23 billion--and soon thereafter, the commercial market crashed.

But Equity Residential has become “less aggressive as buyers of assets” in recent years, Mr. Zell said in an interview late Friday. Instead, it is getting out of suburban markets and into downtown urban centers, where young people are moving and where it is more difficult to build, he said.

Most of the 23,300 apartment units in the deal, roughly a quarter of Equity Residential’s total, are low-rise and mid-rise units in suburban markets in and around southern Florida, Denver, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Southern California. Analysts expect a significant amount of new supply to be concentrated in those markets in coming years.

“There’s an awful lot of apartments under construction,” Mr. Zell said, “and the majority of them are garden apartments in suburban areas.”

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