Many experts say there is no such thing as a national real estate market. For one, the metrics in Manhattan are a far cry from those in Waterloo, Iowa. And then there's the fragmented nature of residential real estate—only 15 percent of the nation's 38 million apartment units are held by the 100 largest companies, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. These realities make sweeping generalities nearly impossible.
Yet at the same time, the U.S. real estate industry is also a giant opportunity for multifamily firms that choose to take it slow and keep it local. As geographical footprints go, the 10 companies you'll read about in the following pages are anything but titans of scale. Instead, their firms have an intense regional focus, and as a result, are tuned in to the unique customer demographics, product types, and sub-market opportunities that lead to pay dirt.
Perhaps more than any other players in the multifamily industry, they've got their markets down cold, have the heft to respectfully compete with national powerhouses, and boast the resources to invest in leading-edge technologies and amenities. For the most part, they're eschewing national expansion, but that doesn't mean they are not looking for new turf.
Nimble, fast, and savvy, these regional operators are best-in-class and banking on growth. So keep an eye out: A tough, new competitor might soon be staking claim to a market near you.