Eric Bolton, chairman and CEO of MAA (NYSE: MAA), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Bolton said strong multifamily market fundamentals in the Sun Belt mean “2015 is shaping up to be a good year.” Demand for apartment space continues to swell as hiring in the broader economy picks up, according to Bolton. Even with more new apartment units coming online, the level of demand growth has led to positive absorption in the multifamily market, Bolton said.
Looking ahead, Bolton said MAA’s secondary markets could outperform its core areas. While the local economies in these markets are adding jobs, the addition of new apartment supply in them has been muted.
“We actually the secondary markets could do better in 2015 than they did in 2014,” Bolton said.
Bolton also discussed the completion of MAA’s merger with Colonial Properties Trust. Fully integrating the two companies took approximately a year, which was expected, according to Bolton.
“We really continue to feel very good about all the opportunities that we previously identified when we announced the merger,” he said. “Overall, we’re quite pleased with the progress that we’ve made and feel good about the opportunity.”
In looking at other transactions, Bolton said the climate is “more robust” than it was 12 months earlier. Bolton attributed that in part to the growth in new development in the sector.
“We are actually seeing much more product being brought to market and believe that our acquisition environment will be more robust in 2015 than it was in 2014,” he said.