Equity Residential

THE SCOOP

Apartment life

Since first going public in August 1993, Equity Residential has grown to become the largest publicly traded owner and operator of multifamily properties in the United States in terms of sales.  Formerly known as Equity Residential Properties Trust, the firm is a billion-dollar operator of almost 1,000 apartment communities with more than 200,000 units across 34 states.  Properties are comprised mostly of garden and ranch properties, mixed with a few mid/high-rise buildings.  Chaired by real estate guru Samuel Zell, Equity has been named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine and is ranked on the S&P 500.

On the road to No. 1

Following Equity Residential’s IPO, then-CEO Douglas Crocker II set forth a specificâ€"if loftyâ€"goal for the company: to become the No. 1 apartment company in the United States.  Within five years, Equity had surpassed Crocker’s goal, partially through an extensive buying spree in 1997, during which Equity Residential picked up rivals Wellsford Residential Property Trust, CAPREIT, Evans Withycombe Residential and Ameritech Pension Trust for a total of $2.14 billion, effectively growing its trust to more than twice the size of the next largest competitor.

Weathering the market

Purchasing continued into the 21st century, as Equity Residential acquired properties in the San Fernando Valley, Seattle and suburban Denver.  By 2009, Equity divulged on its website that it was scouting for investments in Boston, New York (including the Route 95 corridor in Connecticut and New Jersey), Washington D.C., Southern Florida (including Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties), San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego County and Seattle.

The full impact of a slowing economy and mounting job losses during the last quarter of 2008 caused earnings to slip from more than $989.6 million to $420 million.  However, during the fourth quarter of 2008, the company acquired one property, consisting of 304 units, for a purchase price of $43.8 million.  Also during the quarter, the company sold seven properties, consisting of 1,332 apartment units, for an aggregate sale price of $89.7 million.  In addition, the company sold 32 condominium units.  During the year itself, the company acquired seven properties, consisting of 2,141 apartment units, for an aggregate purchase price of $380.7 million, as well as an uncompleted development property for a purchase price of $31.7 million.  It also sold 41 properties, consisting of 10,127 apartment units, for an aggregate sale price of $896.7 million.  In addition, the company sold 130 condominium units for an aggregate sale price of $26.1 million and one land parcel for $3.3 million.

Business is still a bit on the low side as of the third quarter of fiscal year 2009.  Equity Residential reported earnings of 48 cents per share, a decrease from 63 cents per share in the same period of the prior year.  During the third quarter of 2009, the company sold 24 consolidated properties, consisting of 4,620 apartment units, for an aggregate sale price of $381.1 million at an average capitalization rate of 7.7 percent, generating an unlevered internal rate of return of 9.5 percent.

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Equity Residential


Two North Riverside Plaza
Suite 450
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 474-1300
Fax: (312) 454-8703
www.equityapartments.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: EQR
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • President & CEO: David J. Neithercut
  • 2008 Employees: 4,700

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL

Key Financials

  • 2008 Revenue: $2,103 million

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