10 Best and Largest Residential Apartment REITs of 2019

By: April Thompson

Added: 24th July 2019

5 Most Successful Residential Apartment REITs by Market Cap

  • Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS) Traded on the NYSE as APTS, Preferred Apartment Communities is the top-performing residential apartment REIT with a 5-year total return of 20.53%. The REIT generates an above-average dividend yield of 6.95%. APTS owns class A multi-family, student housing, office buildings and grocery-anchored retail assets, multifamily, and student housing assets comprise 64% of APTS portfolio. APTs have experienced average dividend growth of 14.4% annually since its IPO in 2011, and cumulative compound annual total returns of 10.49%
  • BRT Apartments (BRT) Traded on the NYSE as BRT, BRT Apartments invests in multi-family assets. Among the smallest publicly traded residential apartment REITs, BRT partners with local operators, predominantly in an 80%/20% partnership, to invest in stabilized, under-managed or value add opportunities. BRT’s portfolio consists of primarily of class B assets. As the second-best performing residential apartment REIT, this strategy has proven successful. BRT has generated a 5-year total return of 16.92%, and a dividend yield of 5.76%.
  • UDR (UDR) As the third best performing residential apartment REIT, UDR has generated a 5-year total return of 15.83%, and an average dividend yield of 3.1%, 2.84% in 2018. UDR owns 49,765 rental units in 20 US markets, including 366 homes under development. In contrast to the second-best performer, UDR is the fourth largest residential apartment REIT with a market cap of $12,526. Top three markets include Washington DC (19%), Orange County, CA (13.3%) and San Francisco (12.4%). (UDR, 2019)
  • Apartment Investment Management (AIV) Traded on the NYSE as AIV, and commonly referred to as AIMCO, Apartment Investment Management Company is the fourth most successful residential apartment REIT with a 5-year total return of 14.48%, and a dividend yield of 3.10%. AIMCO has a market cap of $7,616. AIMCO has been engaged in a property recycling program in which they sold more than $1 Billion in assets in 2018 and are currently in the process of reinvesting in higher yield projects (AIMCO, 2019)
  • Essex Property Trust (ESS) Essex Property Trust is number five on the list of top-performing residential apartment REITs and is also the third-largest. Traded on the NYSE as ESS, Essex Property Trust has a market cap of $19,103, and has generated a total return over the last five years of 14.38%, and a dividend yield of 2.7%. ESS invests exclusively in three high barrier to entry west coast markets, Seattle, San Francisco and Southern California. ESS has produced a 25-year CAGR of 6.4%. ESS forecasts rent growth of 3.1% in 2019. (Essex Property Trust, 2019)

5 Largest Residential Apartment REITs by 5-year Total Return

  • Avalon Bay Communities (AVB) Avalon Bay Communities is the largest publicly traded residential retail REIT with a market cap of $27,743 Billion. AVB owns 290 communities in 20 markets, with a large presence in New York, the mid Atlantic, southern California and Seattle markets, encompassing 84,490 units. AVB has generated a 5-year total return in line with peers at 12.29% and produces a dividend yield of 3.03%. (Avalon Bay Communities, 2019)
  • Equity Residential (EQR) Equity Residential is closest in size and portfolio composition to AvalonBay. Traded on the NYSE as EQR, the company owns 310 assets, consisting of 80,061 units, located primarily in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California and Denver. EQR is projecting occupancy of 96.1% in 2019, and same-store NOI growth between 2.2%-3.2%. (Equity Residential, 2019)
  • Essex Property Trust (ESS) As mentioned earlier ESS is the fifth most successful retail residential REIT, and the third-largest with a market cap of $19,103. Essex is unique in that the company invests in three very specific markets, with extreme costs of homeownership. Markets include Southern California, San Francisco and Seattle. ESS has chosen to focus on these markets because of there economic strength and significance to the broader economy which protects the assets from the risk of losing value over the long term. According to the ESS site, California and Washington States combined GDP would exceed that of the fifth largest economy in the world. (Essex Property Trust, 2019)
  • UDR (UDR) Also listed, UDR is the fourth largest and fourth most successful retail residential apartment REIT. UDR’s strategy and market focus is very similar to that of Essex Property Trust. UDR has been an early adopter of technology in its buildings and adds to the tenant value proposition by investing in features that enhance the tenant experience, in addition to providing class A real estate.  (UDR, 2019)
  • Mid-America Apartment Comm (MAA) MAA is the fifth largest residential apartment REIT with a market cap of $12,441. The REIT has generated a total return of 14.41% over the last 5 years, and a dividend yield of 3.41%. The company has paid more than 100 consecutive quarterly dividends. The REIT owns 304 communities, including 101,441 units in 17 states. The REIT focuses primarily on markets in the Southeast, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic. MAA manages properties internally and promotes responsiveness, pet friendliness and community connectivity as added tenant experiential benefits. (MAA, 2019)