Missing Middle Construction Weakens

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The missing middle construction sector includes development of medium-density housing, such as townhouses, duplexes and other small multifamily properties.

The multifamily segment of the missing middle (apartments in 2- to 4-unit properties) has disappointed since the Great Recession. For the second quarter of 2023, there were just 3,000 2- to 4-unit housing unit construction starts. This is down from a year prior.

As a share of all multifamily production, 2- to 4-unit development was just above 2% of the total for the second quarter. In contrast, from 2000 to 2010, such home construction made up a little less than 11% of total multifamily construction. Construction of the missing middle has clearly lagged during the post-Great Recession period and will continue to do so without zoning reform focused on light-touch density.

 



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