There’s More Multifamily on the Way

By Erik Sherman

There are changes coming to multifamily that may not seem so desirable in the short run, but which will help stabilize markets and the industry overall.

“Data shows that there are more multifamily than single-family units under construction,” writes Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting at the National Association of Realtors. “Specifically, in September, 893,000 units in buildings with five units or more compared to 800,000 single-family units were under construction. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the number of single-family units under construction has decreased for the last four straight months. On the other hand, the number of multifamily units under construction has increased for nearly the last couple of years.

According to the analysis, multifamily construction is about 50% higher than pre-pandemic averages. Unfortunately, single-family housing starts before 2020 had already been significantly below what was necessary to accommodate both increased demand, population growth especially among people forming families, and the loss of older obsolete housing that needed replacement. And yet, single-family housing starts are currently 13% below the pre-pandemic levels.

That is for a couple of reasons. Market dynamics and rising mortgage rates have made it increasingly difficult for most people to purchase houses. Developers and builders have scaled back on new housing because they can’t afford to borrow and spend the money up front and then not be able to move units quickly enough to recoup investments and make business plans viable.

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