Top US apartment builders, developers report large gains

Dive Brief:

  • There was a change at the top of the National Multifamily Housing Council’s list of the biggest builders with Greystar Real Estate Partners (whose past projects include The Chelsea Apartments in New York City, pictured above) claiming the top spot in 2022 after sitting at No. 6 the year before. 
  • The Charleston, South Carolina-based owner, manager, developer and builder built 6,003 additional units. The company, also No. 1 on NMHC’s developer list, saw starts jump across the board.
  • Phoenix-based Alliance Residential took the No. 2 builder position again and traditional contractor and longtime No. 1 company on the list, Jacksonville, Florida-based Summit Contracting Group, fell to the No. 3 spot. Austin, Texas-based developer and construction firm OHT Partners grabbed the No. 4 spot, while Rosemont, Illinois-based construction firm The McShane Cos. landed at No. 5.

Dive Insight:

The remainder of the Top 10 was dominated by traditional apartment development powerhouses, including: 

  • Boca Raton, Florida-based Mill Creek Residential.
  • Atlanta-based Wood Partners.
  • Arlington, Virginia-based builder and general contractor CBG Building Co., a division of Clark Construction.
  • Cleveland-based The NRP Group.
  • Dallas-based Trammell Crow Residential.

The NMHC defines apartment general contractors and builders as the companies responsible for the physical construction of a new multifamily rental building, while the developer is the firm responsible for the entire process related to the development of a new property. 

Though the lists cover different functions in the building process, there are a lot of similarities. The top contractors, like developers, saw a number of entrants that didn’t appear in 2021. These included:

Companies that didn’t appear on the top 25 last year
Rank Company
No. 11 Arlington, Texas-based, DHI Communities, a D.R. Horton company
No. 18 Arlington, Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities
No. 19 Dallas-based Provident General Contractors
No. 21 Miami-based AHS Residential
No. 22 Peachtree Corners, Georgia-based Fortune Johnson
No. 23 Columbia, Maryland-based Harkins Builders
No. 24 Jacksonville, Florida-based LandSouth Construction
No. 25 Greensboro, North Carolina-based Evolve Cos.

SOURCE: NMHC

With U.S. multifamily housing starts jumping 22.1% to 460,100 units across the country in 2021 (a level not seen since 1986), a lot of companies posted large gains, according to the NMHC. The firms that saw the biggest increases in construction starts included: 

Contractors that saw the biggest increases in units started
Company Additional units built
Greystar 6,003
OHT Partners 4,723
McShane 3,794
Alliance 3,538
TCR 2,732

SOURCE: NMHC

Starts increased despite major supply chain backlogs, skyrocketing materials costs and labor shortages. In 2021 NMHC construction surveys, more than 80% of respondents experienced labor constraints and nearly 100% dealt with lack of materials and price increases.

To navigate these issues, it is important for contractors to consider ways around supply chain woes such as buying early, specing alternative materials and looking for domestic products, according to Ripley Bickerstaff, director of business development for the Nashville, Tennessee, division of Hoar Construction.

“The pricing and supply chain forecast for the next several months remains murky, but data clearly shows ample opportunity for developers and builders to capitalize on domestic migration patterns that create a favorable environment for multifamily development across the Sun Belt,” Bickerstaff said.

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