1315_REITworld_Eric Bolton_2021-11-04_v1
12/13/2021 | by Diane Rusignola

Eric Bolton, chairman and CEO of MAA (NYSE: MAA), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITworld: 2021 Annual Conference.

Bolton discussed MAA’s focus on apartment communities primarily in the Sunbelt region, noting that the pandemic accelerated and expanded some key demand drivers that were already in place.

“These Sunbelt markets were already capturing much higher job growth and stronger demand trends...but some of the challenges emerging and growing out of COVID over the last 18 months have really accentuated and further enhanced the demand for housing across the Sunbelt,” Bolton said. “We’ve seen a lot more migration trends [and] employers bringing jobs to these markets.”

Bolton also discussed some of MAA’s unique pet policies, including amenities like pet washing stations and dog parks at the REIT's communities.

“[Pets are] important to us because [they’re] important to our residents, and our prospective new residents,” Bolton said. “Over 80% of our resident profile now is single, with the median age around 34 years old. I think that this shift has likely led to a higher level of residents with pets.”

Turning to the importance of smart home technology at MAA’s properties, Bolton said the REIT began taking a serious look at options like voice-controlled devices and mobile apps controlling door locks, lights, and temperature in 2019.

“We’ve installed around 47,000 smart home packages so far in the portfolio and we’ll install another 25,000 or so next year,” he noted.