Slowing Multifamily Building Market Holds Elevated Built-for-Rent Share

According to NAHB analysis of quarterly Census data, the count of multifamily, for-rent housing starts declined significantly during the first quarter of 2024. For the quarter, 80,000 multifamily residences started construction. Of this total, 75,000 were built-for-rent. This marks a notable 39% decline from the first quarter of 2023 for the multifamily built-for-rent category.

The market share of rental units of multifamily construction starts was flat at a still elevated 96% for the first quarter as the already small condo market remained held back due to higher interest rates. In contrast, the historical low share of 47% was set during the third quarter of 2005, during the condo building boom. An average share of 80% was registered during the 1980-2002 period.

For the first quarter, there were just 5,000 multifamily condo unit construction starts.

An elevated rental share of multifamily construction is holding typical apartment size below levels seen during the pre-Great Recession period. According to first quarter 2024 data, the average square footage of multifamily construction starts was relatively unchanged at 1,042 square feet. The median increased slightly to 1,042 square feet.


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