Many of the nation's largest apartment owners self-manage their properties and therefore also appear on the NMHC 50 of apartment managers. But other firms specialize in property management and rank among the nation's largest apartment managers. The nation's largest apartment management companies continued to grow their portfolios and market share over the last year according to a "same store" measure, once the NMHC 50 totals are adjusted for this year's restriction to rental apartments, which caused several firms specializing in management of condominium and cooperative-housing properties to drop from the listings.

The Leaders AIMCO dominates the apartment management rankings this year even more than the company rules in the ownership list. The Insignia transaction brought AIMCO approximately 69,000 apartments under third-party management contracts for properties owned by others, in addition to the 122,000 apartments in which Insignia had an ownership interest.

Equity Residential's acquisitions added more than 50,000 units to its management portfolio, as Equity took over the No. 2 spot vacated by Insignia. Rounding out the set of companies with 100,000+ management portfolios, Lincoln Property Co. moved up to No. 3 despite losing some of its portfolio with the formation of Legacy Partners, which took with it most of Lincoln's western holdings.

Pinnacle Realty Management Co., another management specialist, edged up to No. 4. REITs, which typically manage most of their own properties, hold down four of the remaining six spots in the top 10, with NMHC 50 veterans Sentinel Real Estate Corp. and ConAm Management Corp. rounding out the list.

The Newcomers A whopping 15 new names adorn this year's NMHC 50 for management. Several of these are REITs, described in the NMHC 50 for owners, that were either formed through mergers or grew through acquisitions and took over management of the acquired properties.

Another reason for the fresh faces is that slots were opened up by this year's exclusion of managed condos and co-ops from the rankings, lowering the membership threshold by nearly 3,000 apartments.

While seniors specialist Colson & Colson/Holiday Retirement Corp. is an NMHC 50 veteran, the debut of Marriott Senior Living Services on this year's NMHC 50 for management highlights the growing importance of seniors housing in the multifamily rental housing market.

Rising Stars of Management AIMCO's recent growth is mind-boggling. In the past two years, AIMCO has added more than 150,000 apartments to its management portfolio. Overall, REITs dominate the big gainers in the management NMHC 50, as in the NMHC 50 for owners.

Among the firms in the management NMHC 50 in the past two years, only one non-REIT, Western National Property Management, broke into the top five in either portfolio growth or improvement in rank.

Management Growth Profile Interpreting this year's gains in the management NMHC 50 is complicated by the new exclusive focus on rental apartment management. Several firms specializing in condo and co-op management that were on last year's NMHC 50 list no longer qualify, and the firms that moved into those vacancies are smaller, on average. This break in the series explains 1999's slight decline in the aggregate size of the NMHC 50 for management. In fact, using a "same store" measure that includes only those firms from last year's listing that are not condo or co-op specialists, the aggregate portfolio increased 15.3% during 1998, surpassing even the growth rate of the top NMHC 50 ownership portfolio.

Growth in the NMHC 50 for apartment management was concentrated at the top, as was the case with the ownership NMHC 50. The nation's largest manager this year was responsible for 39% more apartments than last year's No. 1. The top 10 apartment managers added 5% to their portfolios, and the top 25 grew by 3%. With the fall-off from paring the rankings of condos and co-ops, the unadjusted total for the top 50 managers edged down 1%. The redefinition also opened NMHC 50 management membership to slightly smaller firms, and the entry threshold moved down to 18,544.

Leading firms in management of condominiums and cooperatives that appeared in last year's NMHC 50 rankings include the Wentworth Group; Sentry Management Inc.; Legum & Norman Realty; Hawaiiana Management Co.; Continental Group; Chaney, Brooks & Co.; Professional Community Management; Bartlein & Co.; Draper and Kramer; Castle Management; and Marvin Gold Management. The National Multi Housing Council is grateful to these companies for their survey participation throughout the years.

Apartment Management Concentration The NMHC 50 apartment managers are responsible for daily operations of 13.6% of all apartments nationwide, almost identical to the share owned by the 50 largest owners. The share of the apartment market managed by the 10 largest companies continued to trend up, reaching 6.6% this year. The market shares of the top 25 and full NMHC 50 were flat to down, however, because of the rule change deleting condominium and cooperative management from the totals. The "same store" results suggest that, absent the break in the series, concentration in apartment management would have continued during 1998.