The largest owner of apartments in the United States was the Tennessee-based real estate investment trust MAA, who owned about 99,700 apartments in 2023. Greystar Real Estate Partners - the second-largest owner in 2023 - followed closely with about 98,900 units. Greystar is an international developer and manager headquartered in Charleston, SC.
Real estate investment trusts
The majority of the largest owners of apartments in the U.S. are real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are companies who own (and usually operate) income producing real estate. REITs were created in 1960, when the Cigar Excise Tax Extension permitted investment in large-scale diversified real estate portfolios through the purchase and sale of liquid securities. This effectively aligned investment in real estate with other asset classes. In 2021, there were over 200 REITs in the United States with a market capitalization of 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars.
Apartments in the United States
The rental return for apartments in the U.S. has been steadily climbing in recent times, with the national monthly median rent for an unfurnished apartment steadily increasing since 2012. Over this time apartment vacancy rates have been decreasing across the country, suggesting that demand outweighs supply. Accordingly, large-scale investment in apartments by REITs is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.