In the past week, two of the Top 20 builders on Multifamily Executive's list of Top 50 Builders in the country have announced that they will curtail future development operations.

On Wednesday, AvalonBay Communities, an Alexandria, Va.-based REIT that built 3,412 units in 2007, nabbing it the No. 11 spot on the MFE Top 50 Builders list, announced that it had backed off development in a number of projects and would be laying off employees. The REIT also said it does not plan to start any new development in the first half of 2009.

Last week, Forest City Residential Group, which came in at No. 18 on the MFE Top 50 Builders list, building 2,085 units in 2007, announced during its third-quarter conference call that the Cleveland, Ohio-based firm plans to halt new projects.

AvalonBay and Forest City have joined a number of other multifamily developers who have announced plans to cease development work. JPI, for one, significantly reduced its construction offices on the East Coast earlier this fall.