Rising to the Challenge
By Madeline Winship, Senior Research Analyst, Yardi Matrix
The importance of effective property management continues to grow across commercial real estate sectors. In a late-cycle economy, as investors increase their focus on cost reduction, tenants expect more than ever before from their apartments, office space and warehouses. Technological advances have bridged this divide to a degree, but skilled employee retention remains a critical differentiator given the tight national labor market. In the context of many major players increasing their national footprint, this could bring particular challenges.
This year’s list of top multifamily property managers is a mix of third-party service providers and owner-operators, similar to previous years. Greystar tops the list with a management portfolio of nearly 492,000 units in 2018, a 15.9 percent increase from the previous year. Occupancy across all assets operated by the top 25 firms is at a healthy 94 percent, in line with the 94.9 percent national average reported by Yardi Matrix in May. The number of units collectively managed by the firms increased by 7.5 percent between 2017 and 2018. Close to half of participating firms manage affordable units as a component of their portfolios. Lincoln Property Co. and TCN Worldwide were the only companies to land in the top 10 of both the multifamily and commercial rankings.
Third-party management firms continue to dominate the commercial rankings, with Lincoln Property Co. as the sole owner-operator among the top five. The total square footage managed by this year’s participants increased by approximately 5 percent from the previous year.
Structural challenges continue to have an impact on the office market, with decreasing square footage per employee, coworking and a changing talent pool leading to a number of new management initiatives. Some firms on the list, including JLL and Tishman Speyer, have started to introduce new amenity packages to their portfolio, offering tenants wellness programs, emergency day care and ride sharing, among others.
As the office sector continues to adjust to secular pressures and the multifamily industry grapples with affordability issues in the context of limited new supply, property managers are bound to continue tackling new challenges through tenant-focused solutions.
The 2019 Top Property Management Firms Ranking utilized self-reported data for all firms. The ranking was calculated using a weighted formula based on a variety of factors—only a few of which are specified here—including the total square footage and number of properties under management, property operations owned and managed and participation in property sectors, among others. The ranking represents what we feel is a logical balance between firm growth, market share and property diversity.