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Finding Upside in Real Estate’s Downturn

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-27T18:19:45Z

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Playing on Pricing Power

Greystar Real Estate Partners manages 190,000 apartments and owns 15,000. Founder Bob Faith is buying many more, including a bankrupt Los Angeles apartment complex. He says he gets good prices--$20 million to $50 million for a complex of 200 units or more--because of eager, debt-laden sellers. Developers aren't building apartments at a time when the "echo Baby Boom" is entering prime renting years and many other Americans have lost homes through foreclosures, he says. "Lots of demand and very limited supply gives pricing power to landlords." Publicly traded real estate investment trusts that own apartments have done well, with Equity Residential (EQR) and AvalonBay Communities (AAVB) both returning about 30 percent in the past year.

Photograph by Getty Images