6/15/2012 | By Matthew Bechard
In a video interview with REIT.com at REITWeek 2012: NAREIT's Investor Forum, Camden Chairman & CEO Ric Campo discussed the state of the apartment market and how his company is looking to capitalize on its continued strength. After shutting down its pipeline amid growing fears of a recession in 2007, Camden has invested $550 million in refurbishing approximately 3,000 legacy properties. The company currently has a pipeline backlog of approximately $500 million.
While the sector's bull run may have left some observers speculating that the apartment sector is close to topping out, Campo said he thinks multifamily REITs still have room to run.
"The fundamentals in our business right now are incredible," Campo said. "They're about as good as they get right now. The position from a supply-and-demand perspective is really good."
Campo estimated that the apartment sector is currently in the early stages of an up market cycle that should last as long as six years.
Camden has consistently been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the best companies to work for in the country. Those kinds of "passionate" employees help drive shareholder returns, according to Campo.
"If you have passionate employees, they translate that passion to your customers. Customers stay longer, they pay higher rents and, at the end of the day, you make higher returns," Campo said. Campo noted that companies that have been recognized by Forbes in the rankings have tended to outperform the broader market over time.
"We focus on taking care of our employees first, our customers second, and our shareholders do well."