Southern states saw active apartment construction in urban areas

Dive Brief:

  • Across the country’s 100 largest cities, about 391,000 new downtown apartment units have sprung up between 2013 and the present day. This represents 37% of the total multifamily inventory in these areas, according to a report by StorageCafe.
  • Four of the top five cities for new downtown apartments are in the South, led by downtown Atlanta, with 21,500 new units since 2013. Los Angeles is in second, with 19,342 new units over the same period, followed by Houston; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Miami. 
  • Nashville, Tennessee; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Phoenix — all in the South — have the highest shares of new construction as a percentage of total inventory. New deliveries in buildings with 50 units or more make up 70% or more of the total downtown stock.

Dive Insight:

This surge of urban core development reflects changing attitudes and lifestyle preferences toward downtown living, walkability and proximity to shops and entertainment, according to StorageCafe. 

“The massive shifts in housing preferences we’ve witnessed in relation to the health crisis are still bound to have ripple effects for years to come,” said Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager for StorageCafe parent Yardi Matrix, in the report.  “The hybrid or remote work trend, for one, has created a context for a reversed type of migration – it’s not just the employees following available jobs and housing options anymore, but jobs and new construction coming to places where people want to live.”

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Atlanta’s new downtown apartment construction represents over 50% of the active inventory in that geographic area. Another 7,000 units are under development or construction in the area. The most active year for development was 2017, with 3,400 new units added to the market, while the least active was 2020, when the pandemic pushed deliveries down to 1,200. 

StorageCafe attributes Atlanta’s growth to its efforts to attract new job development. The city expects to add 1.9 million jobs by 2040, according to the city’s Invest Atlanta economic development authority. The majority of positions are in life sciences, engineering and corporate management, which are expected to attract young professionals who are drawn to downtown apartment living. 

The highest ranked East Coast city on the list is Jersey City, coming in eighth place with 10,236 new units since 2013, or over 60% of its total stock

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