Equity Residential is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that invests in apartments.
As of December 31, 2020, the company owned or had investments in 309 properties consisting of 77,889 apartment units in Southern California, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Seattle, and Denver.
It is the 2nd largest owner of apartments in the United States and the 10th largest apartment property manager in the United States.
The company had its origins in Equity Finance and Management Company, founded in 1969 by real-estate investor Sam Zell.
In 1993, the company acquired a large portfolio of properties from Barry Sternlicht in exchange for a 20% stake in the company. Sternlicht had acquired the properties via government auctions after the savings and loan crisis.
On August 11, 1993, the company became a public company via an initial public offering. At that time, the company owned 22,000 apartments.
In 1997, the company acquired Wellsford Residential Property Trust for $620 million in stock and the assumption of $346 million of debt and acquired Evans Withycombe Residential for $625 million in stock and the assumption of $432 million in debt.
In 1998, the company acquired a portfolio of 5,774 apartments from Lincoln Property Company for $465 million and acquired Merry Land, which owned 34,990 units in the southeast United States, for $1.17 billion in stock as well as $656 million in debt and $270 million in preferred stock.