We believe that the tough operating environment will turn up an increasing number of good investment opportunities. As you correctly stated, there are not many apartment owner/management firms having a lot of "operating" fun these days. Pockets of excessive new development, a strong single family home buying environment and slowed job growth are temporarily placing a strain on the top line of most properties & portfolios. But these same factors are working to motivate merchant builders, private (i.e. higher leveraged) owners and some institutional owners to consider (or force) selling on a basis that differs from what we've seen over the last few years. We've looked at a lot of opportunities over the last few months, but thus far none have been priced in line with our strict disciplines for deploying y(our) precious capital....we think that may be changing as the tough operating environment lingers.
Long-term, the outlook for multifamily housing is very positive; we are just currently experiencing a different part of the cycle. Now is not the time to have a new development pipeline to lease up, or a development team overhead to fund....I'm glad that at MAA we turned that particular spigot off a couple of years ago.