Apartment Boom and Bust, Where It's Happening and Not


Apartment building is down 12% in 2020. 13 of 20 top metro area are in decline.

Five-Year Low Nationally

Apartment Construction in 2020 is at a five-year low nationally, Down 12% From 2019. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic further complicating an already visible slowdown in apartment construction since its 2018 peak, new completions across the country are starting to mirror the downward trend following the 2008 crisis. According to Yardi Matrix, 283,114 new apartments are expected to be completed this year, a significant drop of 12% compared to 2019. The data refers to rental apartments in large-scale buildings of 50 units or more.

New Construction 2008-2020

New Apartment Deliveries

Top Metro Areas

Top 20 Apartments

Miami Bust

Miami Metro Bust

Boom and Bust Highlights

  • With 283,000 new units expected to hit the market this year, apartment construction dropped a significant 12% compared to 2019. The pandemic further complicates an already visible slowdown in apartment construction, bringing the supply of new apartments at a 5-year low in 2020.
  • Overshadowing New York metro for the third consecutive year, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is first in the nation in terms of apartment construction, set to complete 19,300 new units by the end of 2020.
  • 13 of the 20 most active large metros are expected to complete fewer units compared to last year. Miami metro is experiencing the biggest drop, 53%, down from a whopping 12,500 deliveries in 2019. 
  • The San Jose metro area leads the only 7 large metros projected to build more this year, with a 100% increase in new apartments. Despite doubling its apartment construction, Silicon Valley is adding a relatively low number for a giant tech hub, 5,800 units. 
  • At the city level, Austin is leading nationwide with the most apartment completions in H1, 3,800 apartments, followed by San Antonio, Denver, and Charlotte. Brooklyn rounds up the top 5, having delivered around 2,100 units, on par with Chicago. 

In those areas where construction is artificially low rental prices will soar. 

But in those areas subject to human flight, prices could crash. Illinois, NYC, and San Francisco are leading candidates of the latter.


Comments (34)
No. 1-10
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Good Luck landlords!


The US could be about to face a national housing crisis. Starting Aug. 24, millions of renters who were protected from eviction by the CARES Act will no longer be shielded. Combine that with the 30 million or so workers on unemployment who recently lost the $600 per week federal enhancement and have yet to start receiving the $400 per week allotted by an executive memorandum from President Donald Trump, and the result is that nearly half of all US renters may be at risk of eviction in the coming months, according to an analysis by Statista.

If further protections or assistance don't come to pass, as many as 40 million people could be displaced from their homes over the next year, according to the Aspen Institute -- all during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Some states may still offer temporary emergency eviction protections, but many, like California's eviction stay, will end soon.


We definitely have softness in the NYC apt market. Rents are down and vacancies are up. Know people taking advantage and coming into the city from the outer boroughs

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

If covid stays around a while ... and working remote continues ... it will put the screws to landlords in high rent urban areas.


The one thing missing from the financial world today is: price discovery.

How do you price an apartment or house if no one wants to live there?

How do you set rent in a city during a pandemic and everyone wants out or can’t pay because they are unemployed?

For many years, I was tempted to get into real estate rentals (houses) but a rental house near my home convinced me it was not worth the hassle because every time renters left, house was left trashed and owner had to spend money replacing carpets, windows, walls, etc. Today, I am glad I didn’t get into it, most people haven’t been paying rents for a while now from what I hear from landlords.

There was a trend toward multi-generational homes for a while but now that seems like a potential death sentence for anyone old or not healthy living like this in a time of coronavirus.

Personally, now that I can work from home permanently, I am looking at options but it feels like being mobile might be the best approach. Just need to get past the next round of layoffs ;)


Zardoz put his finger on it, if the landlords evict tenants who WILL they rent to?

I feel lucky because I have been bitching about those 20 somethings down the street a few houses that were running a party house. Some nights they had as many as 12 cars in the driveway and parked on the verge. They had outdoor speakers and played cRAP "music" till well into the wee hours. One night just before 2 there was a lot of loud talk and a vehicle peeled out, must have been going about 70 by the time they got to the stop sign, about half an hour later I could hear it returning through the subdivision also at high rate of speed. BANG BANG BANG! Wiped out a street sign, a stop sign a small oak, and wrapped around a large oak. Woman was arrested and I think there were injuries.

All those bastards had a couple things in common, under 30 and collecting UI plus $600 per week PUA. They could not work of course because they might get Covid, but they could go to big noisy house parties.

Well, the week after the $600 ended I saw a UHaul in the driveway. The house is now vacant. THANK F'ING GOD! No more 3 a.m. partying.

But, there is a certain amount of housing stock in the country along with a relatively stable vacancy rate overall. If millions leave their units they will just have to go somewhere else. If the vacancy rate overall rises then that can only mean they are doing things like roommates or couch surfing, but that can only last so long. In other words, there is X amount of housing, and there are X amount of renters. Covid may shuffle them around some but it does not really raise or lower either number. So, at least temporarily I think a lot of people are gone back to mommy and daddy and again that will only be temporary.

Sure some are also buying rather than renting now, but that does not change the number of housing units available. Vacancy for owner and renter housing will rise, as people are foreclosed or evicted. But it just is not affecting prices at this point by much, if anything house prices to buy have risen.

I expect this to change as we clearly recognize we are IN a Trump depression. Right now people keep thinking that Covid is the problem and it will be over soon. It is the trigger but the underlaying problem is MUCH bigger. I also do not necessarily expect prices to fall either. A massive stagflationary depression is what I really expect. Later it may become deflationary, but at least for the foreseeable future watch as the system chokes on all that money.


Seen just now at The Daily Shot Editor:

This is certainly bullish for house prices, especially given the low inventory and declining construction.


The apartment building projects I see being built all over the mid-west are junk! Sticks and twigs is what I call them. Half brick (if any brick at all), cheap thin windows...with equally cheap prefab stick on walls. And the rents for these tossed together shacks..who pays this rip off rent??


Toothpick cities. We had some massive multi story apartments go up in the area I never seen so many 2x4's in my life. For only $1500 a month you get to view the backside of the nascar grandstand, walmart and dozens of fast food joints.


I live in Denver.
Being down does not make me nervous.
Spec building has been running rampant these last 8 years.

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