The Real Deal New York

Despite rising demand, multifamily construction is slowing down

Starts on buildings with five or more units plummeted 17% in July
September 13, 2017 11:10AM

Multifamily construction

Construction of multifamily buildings is slowing down across the country, even though there’s rising demand for rental units.

More than half of metro areas across the country are expected to see more multifamily housing built this year than what was seen between 1980 and 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Trulia data. However, that construction — the driver of the last construction boom — is on the cusp of slowing down. If the construction of single-family homes doesn’t increase to fill its place, according to the newspaper, the country’s economy could be adversely affected.

According to Commerce Department data released on Wednesday, overall U.S. housing starts dropped for the fourth time in five months in July. For single-family construction, starts decreased by 0.5 percent. However, they dropped a massive 17 percent for construction on buildings with five or more units.

“I’m optimistic that single-family will catch up,“ Ralph McLaughlin, the chief economist at Trulia. “It’s not going to happen this year and it’s probably not going to happen next year.”

Apartment construction is slowing because of the massive increase in apartment inventory. In New York City, excess supply has led to landlords offering concession to renters and brokers. In July, concessions at residential rental buildings in Brooklyn were the highest they have been in the seven years that they’ve been tracked. [WSJ]Miriam Hall