The Top 10 Affordable Housing Developers in The U.S.
Each year, thousands of affordable housing units are developed across the United States. If you’re considering investing in affordable housing, or even developing affordable housing yourself, it’s essential to understand the market landscape. Fortunately, this April, Affordable Housing Finance issued a list of the Top 50 affordable housing developers of 2018. We’ve taken the top 10 and provided some additional color, so you can get a better understanding of today’s biggest players in the affordable housing industry.
The Pacific Companies
Company Profile: Headquartered in Eagle, Idaho, The Pacific Companies focuses on developing apartment communities, workforce housing, senior residences, and charter schools. Since 1998, the company has developed more than 150 projects with a combined asset value of approximately $2 billion. The company mostly focuses is on projects in the western United States, with a special focus on California. Unlike some development firms, The Pacific Companies is vertically integrated, and has under its umbrella a construction management/general contracting firm, an architecture firm, and a real estate financing company. In addition to its core competencies, the company has recently increased its efforts involving public-private partnerships, urban infill projects, and inclusionary housing.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 2,501/1,315
Leadership: Caleb Roope, President and CEO
Company Profile: In 2018, LDG clocked in as the nation’s second largest developer of affordable properties, with more than 2,200 units started and more than 1,400 completed. The company’s main focus is developing affordable housing communities in the southern U.S., with a major focus on Texas, Kentucky, and Louisiana. LDG prides itself on working with local communities to increase housing opportunities for everyday Americans, while attempting to dispel harmful myths about affordable housing.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 2,274/1,424
Leadership: Mark Lechner and Chris Dischinger, Principals
Company Profile: Dominum, located in Plymouth, Minnesota, is the nation’s third-largest developer of affordable housing-- but it has an ambitious plan to reach number one. Unlike some firms, Dominum likes to keep an ownership stake in the properties it develops, and likes to manage them, as well. By 2025, the firm plans to own and operate 40,000 affordable housing units across the U.S. Currently, the company manages 30,000 apartments in 22 states and owns $3 billion in multifamily properties. So, while it hasn’t quite reached its goal, it seems to be well on its way.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 2,113 / 948
Leadership: Paul Sween, Managing Partner, and Mark Moorhouse, Senior Vice President and Partner
Rise Residential Construction
Company Profile: Rise Residential Construction, based in Dallas, builds, develops, and manages a wide portfolio of apartment complexes, mostly based in its home state of Texas. In addition to traditional apartment complexes, the firm also develops independent living communities for senior citizens. Right now, the company has 12 construction projects in progress, including several projects intended to increase the housing supply in disaster areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 1,552/564
Leadership: Melissa Fisher, President
The NRP Group
Company Profile: As the fifth largest affordable housing developer in the U.S., The NRP Group completed nearly 1,100 properties in 2018 alone. Like The Pacific Companies, The NRP Group is highly vertically integrated, creating its own projects, building them, and managing them. The company’s affiliates also offer real estate investment services, including equity raises and tax-exempt bond financing. The company, which is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, works on projects throughout the country, and is currently focused on expanding into the Southeast.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 1,087/1,918
Leadership: J. David Heller, CEO
McCormack Baron Salazar
Company Profile: Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, McCormack Baron Salazar focuses its development efforts on creating sustainable, economically-integrated urban communities. With more than 45 years of development under its belt, the firm has completed projects in 47 cities and has built more than 22,000 homes. Like several other developers on this list, McCormack Baron Salazar manages many of the properties it develops. In addition to its focus on residential development, the company also makes commercial investments utilizing the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which provides a tax credit for investors that place funds in eligible projects located in low-income communities.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 1,032/677
Leadership: Vince R. Bennett, President
Commonwealth Development Corporation of America
Company Profile: Commonwealth Development Corporation of America, located in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin, develops, builds, and manages both market-rate and affordable properties across the country, with an emphasis on projects in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Texas. The company has a specific focus on adaptive reuse, and prides itself on its ability to convert historically significant buildings into multifamily housing. The firm also focuses on buying out current multifamily owners who may not have the funds to complete necessary property rehabilitation efforts.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 1,011/892
Leadership: Louie A. Lange III, Founder
The Michaels Organization
Company Profile: Based in Marlton, NJ, The Michaels Organization has more than 40 years of expertise in housing development, and has worked with municipalities, public universities, and faith-based organizations in order to create customized housing solutions. Recent projects range from student housing in California, to affordable developments in Washington D.C. and single-family rental communities for active-duty military service members and their families. Over the last four decades, The Michaels Organization has developed approximately 400 communities with nearly 150,000 residents. Today, the firm currently manages 53,000 units, and is the largest privately-held owner of affordable housing in the United States.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 963/546
Leadership: John J. O'Donnell, CEO
Herman & Kittle Properties
Company Profile: Herman & Kittle Properties, which began as Herman Associates, Inc. in 1948, has more than 70 years of experience in real estate development. In 2002, the company was rebranded as Herman & Kittle Properties. Today, the company focuses on vertically-integrated housing solutions, specializing in areas including building design, construction, development, property acquisitions, financing, property management, and marketing. Currently, the firm boasts a diverse portfolio of over 15,000 apartment units in 18 states, including Indiana, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 946/689
Leadership: Jeffrey Kittle, President and CEO
Company Profile: Dantes Partners, based in Washington D.C., focuses on partnering with local communities to create affordable housing in the areas that need it most. Specialties include complex tax credit and tax exempt bond transactions, including deals utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC). In addition to low-income housing, Dantes Partners focuses on workforce housing for middle-income Americans and housing solutions for senior citizens. While most of the company’s projects are located in Washington D.C., the firm has recently began expanding into the NYC market.
2018 Unit Starts/Completions: 929/0
Leadership: Buwa Binitie, Managing Principal
Top Multifamily Housing Developers vs. Top Affordable Housing Developers
Despite the country’s growing need for affordable housing, most of the top multifamily housing developers in the United States are not significantly invested into the affordable housing market. When comparing the list of top multifamily developers to the list of top affordable housing developers, only a few names appear on both lists. The Michaels Organization, which ranked #8 on the list of largest affordable housing developers, ranked #10 on the overall list of largest developers in the U.S. And, LDG Development, which ranked #2 on the top affordable housing developers list, was ranked at #23 on the list of largest developers in the country. This is likely due to the fact that there is simply a much larger market for market-rate developments than affordable developments, as well as the fact that affordable housing developers are often required to have an somewhat different skill set than market-rate developers.