Top 30 largest US real estate companies 2021
The real estate sector is a stronghold of stability in any economy, and the United States is no exception. Apartment renters, commercial or industrial real estate developers, and specialized property managers, many real estate companies are fighting for market share, investors’ interests, and innovation in this key sector.
The top American real estate companies are engaged in a number of operations to develop, acquire, manage, rent, and sell properties. However, not only do they provide a home to millions of Americans, but they are also involved in a number of verticals beyond the obvious housing and residential market. Multiple companies compete in the often eluded but lucrative markets of industrial and commercial property, medical facilities and senior housing, or even communication towers and forests.
Top real estate companies tend to be specialized by vertical to be able to acquire, develop, manage, and rent properties more effectively, compete for market share, and reach better returns on investment. However many of them are also engaged in fierce competition on the financial markets to attract investor’s dollars that will fuel their investments in new buildings and premises in the United States and around the world. Thus, to be more financially effective, most leading real estate companies adopt the structure of Real Estate Investment Trust – REIT.
What is a Real Estate Investment Trust – REIT?
A Real Estate Investment Trust, usually abbreviated as REIT, is a type of company that owns, and often also operates income-producing properties (equity REIT), or finances income-producing properties (mortgage REIT), or both (hybrid REIT). Based on the model of mutual funds, REITs enable the grouping of capital from multiple investors while allowing individual investors to receive dividends from real estate.
Most often traded publicly on stock exchanges like regular stocks, REITs are highly liquid investments that any investor (individuals, companies, institutions…) can acquire and sell. They are usually specialized in a certain type of property (residential, commercial, industrial, medical, data centers, hotels, infrastructure…). but some REITs also have incorporated some level of portfolio and/or geographic diversification.
To be legally considered as a REIT, a company has to comply with certain financial rules (primarily owning and deriving income from real estate, and paying most of its profits as dividends to shareholders), but they can in exchange benefit from reduced corporation tax and capital gains tax. These characteristics make REIT shares very liquid, producing income from dividends, but they often provide little capital appreciation.
The success of the REIT model is very obvious when considering the largest real estate companies: 28 out of the 30 top real estate companies by market capitalization in the US are REITs (the only non-REIT companies on the list are Opendoor and CBRE).
For more information on the largest American companies, download our S&P 500 companies Excel file containing the complete list of the 500 largest publicly listed companies in the US, together with extensive business, market, financial, and digital information on each company. For even more data on the largest US companies, download our Excel files on the Russell 1000 companies, Russell 2000 companies, or Russell 3000 companies.