Equity Residential Plans For Housing Resurgence
06/13/2012 | by Matthew Bechard

Following its bid for a stake in private apartment company Archstone, Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) has gone back to business as usual, according to David Neithercut, president and CEO of the multifamily REIT.

"We're disappointed that nothing came of that," said Neithercut, referring to his company's play for control of Archstone. Neithercut spoke with REIT.com on June 11 at the New York Hilton during REITWeek 2012: NAREIT's Investor Forum.

"So, today, we just go back to what we've been doing the last 10 years, and that's selling assets in non-core markets and taking that capital and trying to reallocate it in the markets we're trying to focus on," he said.

Additionally, Neithercut discussed the potential impact on the multifamily sector should the housing market begin to improve. He said the markets where the cost of single-family housing is low will be more affected by the resurgence of the single-family market.

"We've already seen this in the past quarter when a percentage of our residents were moving out and buying homes in Florida," he said, adding that residents can't afford to purchase homes in those markets where prices continue to be very expensive. He also noted that some aren't interested in the burden of single-family home ownership.

Neithercut said the company has been preparing for resurgence in the housing market.

"We've been selling our assets in those markets," he said in reference to lower-cost single-family areas, "and allocating our assets in those markets that are high barrier to entry in which the cost of single-family housing is high, and we've been doing that for the long term."