Connie Moore believes the multifamily sector is entering its most profitable period ever. One big reason is Generation Y, the group of Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s.

“All 78 million of the Gen Y generation will be renting, at least for awhile, and there has been a delay with them creating their own households because of the recession,” says the president and CEO of BRE Properties, the San Francisco-based REIT that owns 77 apartment communities totaling 21,820 units.

“In most markets, we haven't been building enough apartments to meet the coming demand,” she emphasizes.

Most new households will choose the freedom of renting over being tied to a purchased home, Moore believes. “It will be interesting to see how this plays out, to see if housing becomes a consumption good rather than an investment.”

Moore joined BRE in 2002 and was promoted to CEO in 2005, assuming the helm of the firm where she started her career 34 years ago. BRE has thrived under her leadership. The REIT's stock price closed at $49.59 per share on Aug. 16, up from $39.87 a year earlier.

Moore has never veered from the multifamily course, working for a variety of companies including Security Capital Group & Affiliates and Archstone Communities Trust. “I love what I do,” she says. “I love to learn how things work, what makes something tick. I hope I always maintain my sense of curiosity.”

The most important lesson Moore has learned in the real estate business is to be consistent. “Do what you say you are going to do, and do it when you say you are going to do it.”

Moore is involved with a variety of organizations including the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics Policy Advisory Board at the University of California Berkeley.

She also provides leadership as an active member of numerous commercial real estate organizations, says Doug Bibby, president of the National Multi Housing Council. “Connie stands out as a true leader in the field who has earned her stripes in interactions with some of the toughest audiences a CEO can face.”