Pinnacle Housing Group vaults to No. 7 after starting 682 units in six developments in Florida and one in Mississippi last year.

That's a sharp contrast from the year before when the Miami-based firm started just one project with 100 units and had a ranking of No. 45. It previously had reached No. 16 on the AHF list.

Pinnacle increased its activities in 2010 with the help of the Tax Credit Assistance Program and the Tax Credit Exchange Program.

As a result, the company has affordable housing projects under way in five Florida counties.

Pinnacle has also teamed with the Mississippi Development Authority on a project in Long Beach, Miss.

The firm is being extremely cautious about where it builds, says partner David O. Deutch.

“We look at need more than anything else," he says.

South Florida remains strong, but other markets in the state have grown tighter, even for affordable housing. That means Deutch is spending more time studying all the key metrics, including occupancy rates, rent levels, and the new construction coming online.

This year, he expects to start three new developments, including one of his most complicated transactions, the $50 million King's Terrace project. Pinnacle bought the debt on a foreclosed property in Miami-Dade. It then relocated 275 families, who were living in the property even though it had been condemned. Pinnacle is demolishing the 421 units and rebuilding a 300- unit community.

The firm also plans to break ground on a Tyler, Texas, development, its first in the state.