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Investing in Equity Residential: A Company Overview

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Sep. 28 2015, Updated 1:14 p.m. ET

Brief history

Headquartered in Chicago, Equity Residential (EQR) was founded in 1969 by Sam Zell and Bob Lurie when they started managing student apartment buildings at the University of Michigan. As a result, Equity Residential was formed as a REIT. It became a publicly traded company in 1993. The company is part of the S&P 500 Index. It employs about 3,500 people.

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Business interest

Equity Residential is a leading REIT that’s focused on the acquisition, development, and management of high-quality apartment properties in some of the top markets in the US. The company’s portfolio of assets is comprised of 388 properties consisting of 108,430 rental apartment units valued at more than $35 billion as of June 2015. The company also operates property management offices in each of its core markets.

Competitors

Equity Residential is the largest apartment REIT company in the US. It has a market capitalization of $25.5 billion. The company competes with a number of other apartment REITs in the US for rental properties. In addition, competition also comes from other forms of rental properties and single-family housing that provide housing alternatives to potential residents of multi-family properties.

Equity Residential’s major competitors in the apartment REIT space include Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities (AVB), California-based Essex Property Trust (ESS), Colorado-based UDR (UDR), Texas-based Camden Property (CPT), Colorado-based Apartment Investment & Management Company (AIV), and Tennessee-based Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA). Equity Residential forms 8.16% of the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ).

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