Multifamily Dominates New Construction in Boston


In the last 10 years, the market share for multifamily construction has grown by an extraordinary amount


In April, the most recent month for which we have data, multifamily construction soared 35.5 percent across the country from March. That was more than double the rate of single-family construction, and was in addition to a 17.5 percent jump in permits and a 36.5 percent rise in completions.

Such statistics further underscored a point that Boston  Agent has made numerous times – following the housing crash, the new construction markets have shifted to multifamily developments in a major way, and that trend is especially pronounced at the local level.

So to get a better idea on how prominent multifamily construction is in 2015, we conducted an extensive study of Census Bureau permit data, and assembled the following charts. First are the number of permits issued for single-family and multifamily units in 2015:


Thus far in 2015, there have actually been twice as many multifamily permits issued in Boston than single-family permits. That is a radical departure from 2005, when over the same time span there were twice as many single-family permits as multifamily permits.

Things get even more interesting in the next graph, which compares multifamily’s share of total building permits in 2005 and 2015 (year-to-date):


In Boston, multifamily’s share of new construction has more than doubled, rising from 43.2 percent in 2005 to 67.3 percent in 2015; in fact, that share has grown even more pronounced since late 2014, when it comprised 54.7 percent of construction activity.

One final thing to consider: there is typically a 12- to 18-month lifespan for multifamily construction projects from the permit to completion, meaning there will be many more multifamily projects hitting the marketplace through 2016.

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