The Biggest U.S. Based Real Estate Companies

The Biggest U.S. Based Real Estate Companies

 
While most property managers are familiar with Jones Lang Lasalle and CBRE, they might be surprised to learn that neither is the largest U.S. based real estate company. In fact, neither cracks the top 5 on our list of the 26 biggest U.S. based real estate companies.

So, who actually owns all of that property the major firms lease, sell, and manage? While this question can be tricky to answer due to privately held property, information is available on publicly traded companies. This is an important distinction to make about our list of the biggest U.S. based real estate companies.

For example, the private equity firm Blackrock does not make the list, despite owning a massive commercial real estate portfolio. So while Blackrock would almost certainly crack our list, they are not included.

Using a ranking system based on revenue, assets, profits, and market value here are the 26 biggest U.S. based real estate companies. (click here for more on the ranking system)

The 26 Biggest U.S. Based Real Estate Companies

 

1. American Tower Corporation

 
Forbes Bio: American Tower Corp. operates as a developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate, which is engaged in leasing antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to different providers. It operates business through three segments: Domestic Rental and Management, International Rental and Management and Network Development Services. The Domestic Rental and Management segment provides for the leasing of antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to wireless service providers and radio and television broadcast companies in the United States. The International Rental and Management segment supply for the leasing of antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to wireless service providers and radio and television broadcast companies in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Ghana, Mexico, Peru and South Africa. The Network Development Services segment offers tower-related services domestically, including site acquisition, zoning and permitting services and structural analysis services, which primarily support site leasing business and the addition of new tenants and equipment. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Boston, MA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Cell Phone Towers
  • Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Global 2000 Rank: #571

2. Simon Property Group

 
Forbes Bio: Simon Property Group, Inc. operates as a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. It owns, develops and manages retail real estate properties which primarily consist of regional malls, premium outlets and mills. Simon Property Group specializes in the ownership, development, management, leasing, acquisition and expansion of income-producing retail real estate assets. The company was founded by Fred Simon, Herbert Simon and Melvin Simon in December 1993 and is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. Simon is the largest retail company on our list of the 26 biggest U.S. based real estate companies.

  • Primary Asset Type: Retail
  • Headquarters: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Global 2000 Rank: #597

3. Annaly Capital Management

 
Forbes Bio: Annaly is a leading diversified capital manager that invests in and finances residential and commercial assets. Annaly’s principal business objective is to generate net income for distribution to its stockholders and to preserve capital through prudent selection of investments and continuous management of its portfolio. Annaly has elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for federal income tax purposes. Annaly is externally managed by Annaly Management Company LLC.

  • Primary Asset Type: Debt and Equity Portfolios
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Global 2000 Rank: #742

4. Prologis

 
Forbes Bio: Prologis, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. It operates through two segments: Real Estate Operations and Strategic Capital. The Real Estate Operations segment represents the ownership and development of logistics properties and also includes rental revenues, recoveries and expenses recognized from its consolidated properties. The Strategic Capital segment represents the management of co-investment ventures and other unconsolidated entities. The company was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Warehouses
  • Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
  • Global 2000 Rank: #744

5. Weyerhaeuser

 
Forbes Bio: Weyerhaeuser Co. engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of forest products. It operates through the following segments: Timberlands, Wood Products, and Cellulose Fibers. The Timberlands segment manages private commercial forestland worldwide. This segment is engaged in growing and harvesting trees for lumber, building, pulp, paper and other wood products. The Wood Products segment delivers lumber, structural panels, engineered wood products and complementary products for residential and commercial applications. This segment offers homebuilding solutions and exports its softwood lumber and engineered building materials to Asia and Europe. The Cellulose Fibers segment produces absorbent fluff, which is used in diapers; manufactures liquid packaging board and other pulp products, which are used in the production of liquid product containers; and generates energy from black liquor produced at the mills. The company was founded by Frederick Weyerhaeuser in January 1900 and is headquartered in Federal Way, WA. Dealing exclusively in timberland and forestry, Weyerhauser is a surprise to many people reading our list of the biggest U.S. based real estate companies for the first time.

  • Primary Asset Type: Timberlands
  • Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
  • Global 2000 Rank: #853

6. CBRE Group

 
Forbes Bio: CBRE Group, Inc. engages in the provision of commercial real estate and investment services. It operates through the following segments: Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Asia Pacific; Global Investment Management, and Development Services. The Americas segment comprises of operations throughout the United States and Canada as well as markets in Latin America. The EMEA segment offers residential property services. The Asia Pacific segment includes real estate services to corporations. The Global Investment Management segment involves in investment management services to pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, endowments, and institutional investors. The Development Services segment consists of development services to users of and investors in commercial real estate. The company was founded by Colbert Coldwell in 1906 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Commercial Real Estate
  • Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #892

7. Public Storage

 
Forbes Bio: Public Storage is a Maryland real estate investment trust. It operates through following business segments: Self-storage Operations, Ancillary Operations, Investment in PS Business Parks and Investment in Shurgard Europe. The Self-storage Operations segment acquires, develops, owns, and operates self-storage facilities which offer storage spaces for lease on a month-to-month basis, for personal and business use. The Ancillary Operations segment deals with reinsure policies against losses to goods stored by customers in self-storage facilities, and sell merchandise, primarily locks and cardboard boxes, at self-storage facilities. The Investment in PS Business Parks segment owns, operates, acquires and develops commercial properties, primarily multi-tenant flex, office, and industrial parks. The Investment in Shurgard Europe segment owns self-storage facilities located in seven countries in Western Europe operated under the Shurgard brand name. The company was founded by Bradley Wayne Hughes, Sr. and Kenneth Q. Volk, Jr. in 1972 and is headquartered in Glendale, CA. Public Storage is one of two storage companies to make our list of the 26 biggest U.S. based real estate companies.

  • Primary Asset Type: Self storage
  • Headquarters: Glendale, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1020

8. AvalonBay Communities

 
Forbes Bio: AvalonBay Communities, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust, which engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily apartment communities. It operates through the following segments: Established Communities, Other Stabilized Communities, and Development or Redevelopment Communities. The Established Communities segment refers to the operating communities that were owned and had stabilized occupancy. The Other Stabilized Communities segment includes all other completed communities that have stabilized occupancy. The Development or Redevelopment Communities segment consists of communities that are under construction. The company was founded by Gilbert M. Meyer in 1978 and is headquartered in Arlington, VA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Multifamily
  • Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1023

9. General Growth Properties

 
Forbes Bio: GGP, Inc. is a real estate investment trust, which operates, manages, develops and acquires retail and other rental properties in regional malls. The portfolio of regional malls represents a collection of retail properties that are targeted to a range of market sizes and consumer tastes. The company was founded by Matthew Bucksbaum and Martin Bucksbaum in 1954 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.

  • Primary Asset Type: Retail
  • Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1050

10. Ventas

 
Forbes Bio: Ventas, Inc. engages in the acquisition and ownership of seniors housing and healthcare properties. It invest in seniors housing and healthcare properties through acquisitions and leases its properties to unaffiliated tenants or operate them through independent third-party managers. The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.

  • Primary Asset Type: Healthcare
  • Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1082

11. Boston Properties

 
Forbes Bio: Boston Properties, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust. It engages in the acquisition, development, financing, capital markets, construction management, property management, marketing, leasing, accounting, and tax and legal services. It operates through the following segments: Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The company was founded by Mortimer Benjamin Zuckerman and Edward H. Linde in 1970 and is headquartered in Boston, MA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Office
  • Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1159

12. Equity Residential

 
Forbes Bio: Equity Residential operates as a real estate investment trust, which engages in the acquisition, development, and management of multifamily residential properties. The company was founded by Robert H. Lurie and Sam Zell in March 1993 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.

  • Primary Asset Type: Multifamily
  • Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1231

13. Host Hotels & Resorts

 
Forbes Bio: Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. operates as a self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust. It conducts operations solely through Host Hotels & Resorts L.P. and its subsidiaries. Its portfolio consists of luxury and upper upscale properties in the United States under brand names that are widely recognized in the lodging industry. The company also invests in properties located in Canada, Mexico, Chile, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Poland. It owns lodging assets in prime urban, airport and resort/convention locations. Host Hotels & Resorts was founded on October 8, 1993 and is headquartered in Bethesda, MD

  • Primary Asset Type: Hotels
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1238

14. Equinix

 
Forbes Bio: Equinix, Inc. engages in the provision of collocation space and related service. It operates through the following geographical segments: Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Its services include interconnection and connectivity, data centers and collocation, professional services, and Equinix Marketplace. It offers applications and content acceleration, cloud infrastructure solutions, wide area network optimization, and disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. The company was founded by Jay Steven Adelson and Albert M. Avery IV on June 22, 1998 and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA. Only 20 years old, Equinix is one of the “youngest” organizations on the biggest U.S. based real estate companies list.

  • Primary Asset Type: Collocation Spaces
  • Headquarters: Redwood City, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1264

15. Welltower

 
Forbes Bio: Welltower, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The company invests with seniors housing operators, post acute providers and health systems to fund the real estate infrastructure needed to scale innovative care delivery models and improve people’s wellness and overall health care experience. It owns properties in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, consisting of seniors housing and post-acute communities and outpatient medical properties. The company operates through the following segments: Triple-net, Seniors Housing Operating, and Outpatient Medical. The Triple-net properties segment include long-term/post-acute care facilities, assisted living facilities, independent living/continuing care retirement communities, care homes (United Kingdom), independent support living facilities (Canada), care homes with nursing (United Kingdom) and combinations thereof. The Seniors Housing Operating properties segment includes the seniors housing communities. The Outpatient Medical properties segment includes outpatient medical buildings. The company was founded by Bruce G. Thompson and Fritz Wolfe in 1970 and is headquartered in Toledo, OH.

  • Primary Asset Type: Healthcare
  • Headquarters: Toledo, Ohio
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1279

16. Digital Realty Trust

 
Forbes Bio: Digital Realty Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust. It owns, acquires, develops and manages technology related real estate. The company conducts its business and owns its assets through Digital Realty Trust L.P. Its solutions include turn-key datacenters, digital consulting services, build to suit datacenters, buy to suit /sale leaseback datacenters, powered base buildings and critical facilities management. Digital Realty Trust was founded on March 9, 2004 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Data Centers
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1354

17. Starwood Property Trust

 
Forbes Bio: Starwood Property Trust, Inc. engages in the investment, finance, and management of commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate debt investments, commercial mortgage-backed securities and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. It operates through the following segments Real Estate Lending; Real Estate Investing and Servicing; and Property. The Real Estate Lending segment provides a one-stop solution for borrowers and are able to lend for balance sheet across the capital stack, including providing first mortgages, subordinate debt, mezzanine loans, and B-notes. The Real Estate Investing and Servicing segment involves commercial mortgage-backed securities and commercial real estate debt investing business. The Property segment consists of real estate assets to complement its real estate lending and real estate investing and services segments. The company was founded on August 17, 2009 and is headquartered in Greenwich, CT.

  • Primary Asset Type: Debt Investments
  • Headquarters: Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1530

18. Two Harbors Investment

 
Forbes Bio: Two Harbors Investment Corp. is a real estate investment trust that invests in residential mortgage-backed securities, residential mortgage loans and other financial assets. Its objective is to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to its stockholders over the long-term, primarily through dividends and secondarily through capital appreciation. The company intends to achieve this by constructing a well-balanced portfolio consisting primarily of RMBS, with a focus on managing various associated risks, including interest rate, prepayment, mortgage spread, financing, and credit risk. It focuses on security selection and implements a relative value investment approach across various sectors within the residential mortgage market. Two Harbors Investment was founded on May 21, 2009 and is headquartered in New York, NY.

  • Primary Asset Type: Debt Investments
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1556

19. Chimera Investment

 
Forbes Bio: Chimera Investment Corp. is a specialty finance company, which operates as a real estate investment trust that invests through its subsidiaries in residential mortgage loans, residential mortgage-backed securities, commercial mortgage loans, real estate-related securities and various other asset classes. The company is managed by Fixed Income Discount Advisory Co. Chimera Investment was founded on June 1, 2007 and is headquartered in New York, NY.

  • Primary Asset Type: Debt Investments
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1630

20. Vornado Realty

 
Forbes Bio: Vornado Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust and conducts its business through Vornado Realty L.P., a Delaware limited partnership. The company owns office, retail, merchandise mart properties and other real estate and related investments. Its office properties include various building office complexes and Bank of America Center in San Francisco. The trust’s retail properties include shopping centers, regional malls single tenant retail assets. The trust’s other real estate and related investments include marketable securities and mezzanine loans or real estate. It operates through the following business segments: New York Office Properties, Washington, DC Office Properties, Retail Properties, Toys and others. The company was founded by Steve Roth in 1982 and is headquartered in New York, NY

  • Primary Asset Type: Commercial Real Estate
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1680

21. Realty Income

 
Forbes Bio: Realty Income Corp. is a real estate company, which engages in generating dependable monthly cash dividends from a consistent and predictable level of cash flow from operations. It also involves in in-house acquisition, portfolio management, asset management, credit research, real estate research, legal, finance and accounting, information technology, and capital markets capabilities. The company was founded by William E. Clark, Jr. and Evelyn Joan Clark in 1969 and is headquartered in San Diego, CA

  • Primary Asset Type: Commercial Real Estate
  • Headquarters: San Diego, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1723

22. Essex Property Trust

 
Forbes Bio: Essex Property Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust, which engages in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of predominantly apartment communities. The company was founded by George M. Marcus in 1971 and is headquartered in San Mateo, CA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Multifamily
  • Headquarters: San Mateo, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1761

23. Extra Space Storage

 
Forbes Bio: Extra Space Storage, Inc. is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. It owns, operates, manages, acquires, develops and redevelops professionally managed self-storage facilities. The company operates through three segments: Property Management, Acquisition & Development, Rental Operations and Tenant Reinsurance. The Property Management, Acquisition & Development segment activities include managing, acquiring, developing and selling self-storage facilities. The Rental Operations segment activities include rental operations of self-storage facilities. The Tenant Reinsurance segment activities include the reinsurance of risks relating to the loss of goods stored by tenants in the company’s self storage facilities. The company was founded by Kenneth Musser Woolley on April 30, 2004 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Primary Asset Type: Self Storage
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1767

24. Jones Lang LaSalle

 
Forbes Bio: Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc. is a financial and professional services company, which is engaged in providing real estate services. It offers integrated services on a local, regional and global basis to owner, occupier, investor and developer clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. The company operates through following geographic segments: Americas, Europe Middle East & Africa, Asia Pacific and LaSalle Investment Management. The each geographic region offers full range of real estate services, including agency leasing and tenant representation, capital markets and hotels, property management, facilities management, project and development management, energy management and sustainability, construction management, and advisory, consulting and valuation services. The LaSalle Investment Management segment provides investment management services to institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Jones Lang LaSalle was founded in April 1997 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.

  • Primary Asset Type: Commercial Real Estate
  • Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1855

25. Alexandria Real Estate Equities

 
Forbes Bio: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. is a life science real estate company. It is principally focused on science-driven cluster development through the ownership, operation, management, selective acquisition, development and redevelopment of properties containing life science laboratory space. The company provides environmentally sustainable real estate, technical infrastructure and services to the diverse life science industry. Its client tenants include institutional, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, product and service entities and government agencies. The company was founded by Joel S. Marcus and Jerry M. Sudarsky in June 1994 and is headquartered in Pasadena, CA.

  • Primary Asset Type: Life Sciences
  • Headquarters: Pasadena, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1921

26. HCP

 
Forbes Bio: HCP, Inc. is a real estate investment trust which invests primarily in real estate serving the healthcare industry in the United States. It acquires, develops, leases, sells and manages healthcare real estate and provides mortgage and other financing to healthcare providers. The company operates through four segments: Senior Housing Triple-Net, Senior Housing Operating Portfolio, Life Science and Medical Office.

  • Primary Asset Type: Healthcare
  • Headquarters: Irvine, California
  • Global 2000 Rank: #1988

How Rankings Were Determined

 
Our list of the 26 biggest U.S. based real estate companies is based on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the largest public companies. Forbes based the list on four equally weighted categories: sales, profits, assets, and market value. To be eligible for the list, companies had to make the top 2000 in one of the four categories. While our list only contains the biggest U.S. based real estate companies, the Global 2000 list contains additional companies located in other countries. In fact, only the top 5 companies on our biggest U.S. based real estate companies list crack the global 10.

Where a company ranked in a specific category determined its category score. The company with the highest market value, would receive a category score of 2000, while the last company in the top 2000 would receive a score of 1. If a company ranked outside the top 2000 in a particular category, it was given a score of 0. Finally, category scores were added up with the highest scores determining the final ranking.

Click here to read even more about Forbes ranking system.

 

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