Social Icons Superfish

Nearly 40 million Americans invest in REITs

American Campus Communities Celebrating 20th Anniversary

06/04/2013 | By Allen Kenney

Bill Bayless, president and CEO of American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview in Chicago at REITWeek 2013: NAREIT's Investor Forum.

American Campus Communities is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013. Bayless discussed the importance of the company holding its first ever bond offering this year, as well as being named to Forbes magazine's "100 Most Trusted Companies" list.

"When we started the company back in 1993, one of the statements in our mission statement was a dedication to excellence and integrity," he said. "When we went public in 2004, one of our specific goals was obtaining an investment-grade rating so that ultimately we could issue corporate debt. In doing business with colleges and universities across America, for them, both of those send a great message in terms of the character of the company, especially when they're looking at picking a long-term partner to do housing on their campus. We're very proud of both and think that it really speaks well for the business that we're in."

American Campus had acquisitions and new development totaling more than $2 billion in 2012, which Bayless called "an incredible year for growth." Bayless talked about the outlook for activity when all is said and done in 2013. He said the company is currently in development on $305 million of seven owned properties.

"We see excellent growth on the development front," Bayless said.

Regarding new acquisitions, Bayless noted that there is approximately $1 billion in assets on the market right now.

"For us, it's always about the quality of growth versus the quantity of growth," he said. "Where we end up in the year will be a process after staying true to our process of diligently looking for assets that meet our criteria and executing where it makes sense."

Bayless cited oversupply of student housing facilities as the greatest threat to American Campus' business.

"We always talk about the great benefit to student housing is not being subject to macroeconomics," he said. "It really does come down to supply and demand in each individual market. Enrollments always tend to be steady and resilient. The supply side is where you can get hurt in our business. What we've always done to protect ourselves in that situation is making sure that our assets are located in pedestrian campuses in the infill submarkets with barriers to entry so that when oversupply does occur, it's happening outside of where our properties are located and we're somewhat insulated from that."