Stephen Schmitz, chairman and CEO of American Residential Properties (NYSE: ARPI), and Laurie Hawkes, the company’s president and COO, joined REIT.com for a video interview during REITWeek 2015: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.
American Residential Properties acquires, renovates, leases and manages single-family properties across 13 states.
Schmitz discussed whether the company continues to see acquisitions as the most important generator of strategic value.
He noted that American Residential has now slowed the pace of acquisitions: “What we want to do is to show the world what a stabilized portfolio looks like.” The company is focused on driving occupancy and rent increases, and managing costs downward. The overall objective, he said, is “to show that this is a real business that works in a REIT and that can generate an exciting return for our investors.”
Hawkes, meanwhile, commented on the performance of American Residential’s various geographic markets.
She observed that performance has been uneven because not all markets crashed at the same time and not all recovered consistently either.
The company’s initial investments were in the Southwest, including California, Arizona and Nevada. Properties in those markets are now occupied at levels exceeding 97 percent, according to Hawkes.
Occupancy levels in markets where the company invested later -- Atlanta, Nashville, Florida, and Texas – are still on their way up, Hawkes said.
Texas in particular didn’t have the same boom and bust cycle as other markets, Hawkes said, “so we find that’s just steady growth relative to our rent increases.”
Meanwhile, Schmitz stressed that the company will distinguish itself from other competitors based on the strength of its operating business: “We’re really built the company around that and we think that will be the big differentiator.”
Hawkes added that a concentrated focus on serving the customer also sets the company apart.