Camden Slowing Down Apartment Development

Ric Campo, chairman and CEO of Camden Property Trust (NYSE: CPT), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2016: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.

Campo commented on Camden’s recent move to dispose of $1.2 billion in assets, which has allowed the company to renew and reposition its portfolio by investing in new development.

“The spread between older assets and newer assets in terms of pricing was the tightest I’d seen in my business career, so we just sold into that, big-time,” Campo said.

The pace is slowing on the development front, according to Campo. After Camden’s development peaked at about $1.1 billion, the REIT now has about $600 million to $700 million under construction, Campo said. The company plans to add about $200 million to $300 million annually, according to Campo. He noted that the slowdown “makes sense,” given the current position of the market recovery.

Most markets don’t appear to be overbuilt, Campo said. One exception is Houston, although construction starts are declining dramatically there, he added.

Campo also noted that millennials and baby boomers are competing with each other in the rental marketplace; however, millennials are “definitely the more important customer” due to the sheer size of the demographic. Campo stressed the importance of engaging millennials through social media: “If you can’t sign a lease on your phone, you’re going to be in trouble with millennials.”

Additionally, Campo highlighted the importance of mentoring programs at Camden. On a personal level, Campo noted that early in his career he had benefitted from a mentor who underscored that “business is more than the bottom line – it’s taking care of your customers, employees and shareholders.”