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Investing in MAA: A Must-Know Company Overview


Nov. 23 2015, Updated 4:04 p.m. ET

Brief history

The origins of Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA) go back to The Cates Company, an apartment management business that was established by George E. Cates in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1977. In 1993, The Cates Company, along with Memphis apartment developer Robert Fogelman and other investors, formed Mid-America Apartment Communities to carry on the business of The Cates Company. The company was structured as a REIT (real estate investment trust) and completed an initial public offering in 1994. In 2013, Mid-America Apartment Communities, or MAA, acquired Colonial Properties Trust for $2.2 billion in stocks. The company is now one of the largest publicly traded multifamily companies in the United States and is a part of the S&P 400 index.

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Business interest

MAA (MAA) is a multifamily-focused, self-administered and self-managed REIT. The company owns, operates, acquires, and selectively develops apartment communities primarily located in the southeastern and southwestern United States. The company’s activities include full or partial ownership and operation of 268 multifamily properties and three commercial properties as of fiscal ended 2014.


MAA is the sixth largest apartment REIT company in the United States, with a market capitalization of $6.4 billion. The company competes with a number of other apartment REITs in the United States for rental properties. Other competition includes alternative rental properties and single-family housing, as well as the option of buying. When home prices are high, renting becomes more attractive, and vice versa.

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MAA’s major competitors in the apartment REIT space include Chicago-based Equity Residential (EQR), California-based Essex Property Trust (ESS), Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities (AVB), Colorado-based UDR (UDR), and Texas-based Camden Property Trust (CPT). The SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF (RWR) invests 1.1% of its portfolio in MAA.

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