11/13/2012 | by
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Toomey: Long-Term Outlook 'Great' for Apartments

Tom Toomey, president and CEO of UDR Inc. (NYSE: UDR), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

UDR, an S&P 400 company, is a multifamily REIT that manages, buys, sells, develops and redevelops real estate properties in targeted U.S. markets. As of Sept. 30, UDR owned or had an ownership position in 54,985 apartment homes, including 2,441 properties under development.

After 12 years serving as UDR's CEO, Toomey discussed the current transformative period that the company is experiencing.

"I feel very good about where we're at. We've transformed a company with over $14 billion of transactions in the last 10 years," he said. "We've made some great inroads in the last two years, particularly making investments in Boston and New York, which I think are going to do very well."

Despite the company's success, Toomey said UDR's work isn't done.

"I don't think you're ever quite done, but what I do feel like is that we're in the 90 percentile. We're headed in the right direction."

Toomey shared his thoughts on UDR maintaining its momentum from a strong third quarter of 2012.

"I think the long-term fundamentals are going to be great. When you look out farther on the horizon, certainly the supply-demand characteristics are in our favor," he said. "We still have pricing power, and the demand side and supply side are in our favor. I think we've got a good long run coming up."

Toomey offered his insights on the next wave of technological developments that will shape the apartment sector.

"We're doing a lot of what other business models are. We're listening to our customers first and foremost. What our customers are telling us that they want is ease of transaction, 24-7," he said. "I think there's going to be social media, that people are creating more and more friendships around their living communities, and we have to enable those. The second side is in the service business. We spend 30 percent of our operating costs during the maintenance side of the equation and we've really never quite applied all of the technology. Lastly is sales force efficiency. There's still lots of room in there."

Looking ahead to 2013, Toomey said he expects apartment companies to continue to "feel out the economy."

"We've got an economy that continues to grow. What is each individual company's exposure along those lines?"