The Real Deal Los Angeles

What you need to know about LA’s residential construction landscape

A TRD analysis shows single-family units at 5-year high, apartments keep climbing
By Haru Coryne | February 06, 2018 03:10PM

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay)

Residential construction in Los Angeles continues to rise to meet intensifying demand, including a recent surge in single-family homebuilding and duplex construction. An analysis by The Real Deal of permits issued by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety over the last five years shows the dramatic increase in home building.

The city approved 15,994 new residential units last year compared to 9,896 in 2013, a 62 percent jump, the analysis shows. Even compared to 2016 figures, it was a 14 percent increase.

The bulk of those housing units in 2017 came from multifamily and mixed-use developments, including big-ticket projects like AvalonBay’s 695-unit AVA Hollywood, which got approval to begin work in August. There were 12,565 such units approved in 2017, a 9 percent gain over 2016 and a 48 percent increase from 2013. Adding to last year’s total were 283 accessory dwelling units, also known as “granny flats,” which the city has been encouraging to help ease the rising number of homeless.

New apartment construction continues to flood L.A., and in the next three years, it is expected that as many as 30,000 units will have hit the market, according to CoStar.

A  driver of growth last year was also in the single-family sector, TRD’s analysis found. The number of permitted single-family units climbed by 24 percent compared to 2016 numbers. Construction was approved for 2,212 new single-family units in 2017, compared to 1,786 the year before.

Another increase, though niche, was in duplex construction. That sector hasn’t stopped growing since 2013, the research showed. There were 934 duplex units approved for construction last year — a 38 percent hike over the previous year. That makes duplex construction the fastest-growing housing sector in the city.

While new housing continues to hit the market, the lack of affordable housing continues to plague L.A. Last week, a report found that Los Angeles is among more than 500 California municipalities that have failed to approve adequate housing to meet local needs.

In November 2016, voters approved ballot Measure JJJ, which requires developers seeking zoning amendments pay workers union-approved rates and include affordable units in their projects. It may be too early to tell whether that will affect construction volume, but apartment projects filed after the vote are now making their way through the process.

In April 2017, the nonprofit PATH Ventures, the development arm of People Assisting The Homeless, filed plans to expand a homeless shelter into a 194-unit affordable multifamily development at 320 N. Madison Avenue, marketed as the PATH Metro Villas.

Eight months later, the project was approved, and is now slated for a July 2019 completion, according to the company’s website.