The top rank of the nation's apartment owners and managers posted record growth during 1998, according to the 10th annual NMHC 50. It was another year of huge deals. Publicly traded REITs made the most dramatic moves, but most of the 50 largest owners and managers are private companies, and the majority of these also expanded their portfolios during the past year. Further, the NMHC 50 for 1999 shows that the biggest firms continued to increase their share of the nation's entire apartment market.

The 50 largest apartment owners increased their holdings by 11%, easily the biggest increase since the NMHC 50 was first compiled in 1990. The growth was concentrated among the very largest firms, as those in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions alone accounted for over half of the increase in apartments owned by the entire NMHC 50. The number of publicly traded REITs in the ownership NMHC 50 increased by three, to 17, and as of January 1, 1999, these companies owned 42% of all the apartments represented in the ownership NMHC 50.

The NMHC 50 of apartment management, which ranks the 50 largest apartment property managers, also saw double-digit growth in the number of apartments represented. The increase is masked, however, by this year's exclusive focus on rental apartments, which for the first time excluded several large condominium and cooperative managers from the totals. Some of the largest companies in the management NMHC 50 are specialists who do not appear in the ownership NMHC 50.

The country's largest apartment owners and managers continued to pick up market share during 1998, according to the 1999 NMHC 50. But most of the nation's apartments are owned and managed by smaller firms, and the industry continues to provide business opportunities for a wide variety of players.