Apartment Construction Is Expected to Slow Down in 2018 After a 6-Year Upward Streak

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  • Almost 283,000 new apartments are expected for completion by the end of 2018, 11% less than last year.
  • Apartment construction peaked in 2017, finally slowing down in 2018.
  • In spite of the year-over-year slowdown, the past three years’ total deliveries are projected to pass the 900K mark by the end of this year – the highest since the mid-‘80s.
  • Continuing the trend seen in recent years, Texas is leading the nation with more than 37,000 units slated for delivery in 2018 in Houston, DFW, Austin, and San Antonio combined.

Following an almost decade-long period of vigorous expansion, the growth of the U.S. renter population has reached a plateau in 2016. Construction had continued to break records — until this year, when Yardi Matrix market data suggests that the total number of new completions is going to remain far below the 300K mark.

Compared to 2017, when the number of new deliveries reached an all-time high mark in the last 20 years, 2018 will see about 34,900 less deliveries ready to hit the market. The amount of new construction has followed a fast-ascending trend in the past six years, but the trend is estimated to change course this year.

2017 deliveries represented a new post-recession high, although actual apartment deliveries last year came short of initial estimates in many metros, due to increased construction costs and qualified labor shortage. As the market is approaching a saturation point, 2018 may mark the start of a construction cooldown for the next few years.

Apartments Delivered - yearly

On the other hand, carrying out a large-scale apartment project from the initial phases of planning to delivery rarely fits into a one-year timeframe. If we look at the combined delivery figures of three-year periods, however, the past three years still top the output seen in three decades. Apartment construction last peaked at 933K deliveries between 1983-1985 and is forecasted to reach an astonishing number of 910K deliveries by the end of 2018, the closest it’s come to that record-breaking performance ever since.

Although the pace of construction has helped tremendously with supply, it’s still going to be a challenge for developers to keep up with the demand, taking into consideration the fact that the number of renters is on the rise.

Apartments delivered (1983-2018)

The average rent is still increasing, despite witnessing a much-needed deceleration

Rent growth has followed a path of ups and downs since the recession, but prices have not decreased since 2010 at a national level. It seems that 2017 brought a touch of relief with rent prices starting to slightly hit the brakes.

Yearly rent growth (2008-2018)

However, the national average rent has already seen a 2.3% increase during the first six months of this year, and whether or not it will outpace 2017’s 3.5% uptick by the end of the year is up to the market’s reaction time, as the slightly narrower pipeline has the potential to blow even that little wind out of the sails of renters. One thing’s for certain: the number of renters has been on the increase in the past years, and it’s unlikely to start decreasing as long as home prices are shooting up faster than rents.

New York metro leads the way with the highest number of units expected to be delivered this year

Home to roughly 20 million people, the majority of them being renters, the New York metro area will add a total of 19,948 new apartments in 2018, slightly less than the 20,682 from a year before. Considering that the metro has become home to almost 46,000 new residents in the last year alone, the housing market has a lot to catch up to in terms of available supply.

Dallas-Forth Worth metro, on the other hand, having added over 146,000 more people to its population, is expected to up its apartment supply by 17,132 new units. The metro is second only to New York in terms of apartment construction, outpacing other metros like Denver and even Los Angeles and Chicago. Dallas metro has seen a growth in job opportunities, with more and more people relocating to the region and ultimately driving up rents. In Dallas alone, rents have increased by 3.2% year-over-year with renters paying a monthly amount of about $1,200.

Texas metros like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio stand out with a total of 37,000 new units. However, Houston metro is expected to deliver only 7,646 new units this year, considerably fewer than it did in the past two years.

Metro areas like Phoenix; Miami; Atlanta; Nashville; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., also have strong new supply pipelines this year.

Top 20 Metros - Most apartments delivered

It’s worth pointing out that expensive markets such as San Francisco, Boston, and San Jose metro areas are adding a low supply of new apartments to their inventories. San Francisco is adding less than 7,000 new apartments while Boston is counting on about 5,000 new apartments to be built. Moreover, San Jose is planning on adding about 4,500 new units. Seeing these numbers, there’s not much hope that rent prices might drop any time soon.

Right at the bottom of the list, we have Philadelphia with 4,368 units expected for 2018 and Tampa with 4,176 units. The low number of deliveries in Tampa might be due to the loss of jobs following the recession.

Long Island City is New York’s hottest neighborhood for new apartments

Continuing its streak in apartment construction, Long Island City still leads among New York’s most active neighborhoods as 2,100 amenity-rich units are projected to be delivered in Long Island City in 2018. The top 3 also includes Williamsburg with 1,932 new apartments, and Downtown Brooklyn with 1,118. Planning to build 986 new units this year, Fort Green is followed by East Harlem with 764 new deliveries, Hell’s Kitchen with 698 and Lincoln Square with 651. Crown Heights also made the list with 368 new units projected to be delivered in 2018.

New York - Hottest Neighborhoods

Los Angeles adds a sizable chunk of over 4,000 new apartments to its inventory

The construction of new apartments in Los Angeles metro is expected to hit the 11,000 mark in 2018 — recording a 23% drop compared to the previous year. Developers in Los Angeles city alone are stepping up their game and planning to deliver 4,583 new apartments.

This comes as a response to the city’s high rent prices that have set off what we can call an affordable migration. Renters account for almost half of LA’s population and the current supply of apartments is simply not enough to help cool off rental prices. Unable to keep up with the rising rents, more and more people are leaving California and relocating to less expensive places in neighboring states.

Los Angeles Metro - Hottest Markets

As far as other cities within the metro are concerned, Anaheim is expected to add 946 new units, while Glendale’s inventory will increase by 891 new deliveries.

Phoenix Metro: Phoenix, Tempe, and Chandler are the top three hottest markets for apartment construction

Besides affordable rent prices, those living in Phoenix metro have another reason to rejoice as developers are planning to build over 10,000 new apartments this year, 55% more than they did last year. The metro saw its population soar by 2% in the last year while job growth was also strong at 2.8%.

Phoenix Metro: Hottest Markets

Home to employers like JP Morgan Chase, UPS or Santander Consumer USA, Phoenix is seeing a boost both in its job market, as well as in its apartment construction. The city is planning on adding 4,152 new units by the end of the year, an increase from last year when it only delivered 2,316 new apartments.

Construction volumes will reach 1,915 new apartments in Tempe, 1,075 units in Chandler and new 1,030 rentals in Scottsdale. Peoria, Gilbert, Glendale, and Mesa are expected to add only around 400-500 new apartments each.

Austin Metro: Austin and Round Rock take the lead in apartment construction

As one of the cities with the most robust apartment construction in the country, Austin is adding an impressive number of 5,758 new apartments by the end of 2018. As a result of the 19% increase in apartment construction, rents in the area have gone up by a shy 0.2% in the last year. The sizeable supply of apartments is pushing landlords to offer concessions such as months of free rent.

Round Rock is planning to deliver 796 new apartments this year but construction in the area has dropped by 8% compared to last year while the average monthly rent increased by 1.3%.

Austin Metro - Hottest Markets

Construction is reaching outstanding levels in both Denver metro and Sacramento metro

Upping its population by 1.3% in the last year, Denver metro is also boosting its apartment construction by a staggering 150% in 2018. The area is continuing the trend seen in recent years with the construction of 15,187 new apartments.

The big increase in apartment construction is due to the fact that part of last year’s deliveries got pushed to 2018. In fact, Doug Ressler, senior analyst at Yardi Matrix added: “The latest employment numbers came in at 2.3% as Denver is experiencing a lack of construction workers for multifamily and competing with office developers for labor resources. This was combined with a 2017 mid-year decline in occupancy from 95.8% overall to 94.9% at year-end.

Construction-crazed Sacramento metro is hot on its heels, increasing its apartment supply by 143% in 2018 versus the previous year, while New Orleans metro adds 85% more apartments.

Both Jacksonville metro and Phoenix metro are building over 50% more apartments this year compared to 2017. The metros are also among the top 10 with the highest population growth, therefore the increase in construction comes as good news for renters hoping to see prices cooling off.

As for what lies ahead at a national level, Ressler believes that since “the residential development pipeline has slowed, there won’t be as many new properties coming online. Vacancy is also increasing slightly because of the new apartment buildings coming online, particularly in the Sunbelt and the Southwest.”

2018’s Best and Worst Apartment Markets for New Deliveries

The table below contains the new supply projected to come online in 2018, in 101 metropolitan areas across the U.S. The metros have been ranked from best to weakest in terms of the number of new apartment completions, based on data estimates from Yardi Matrix. All metros containing less than 300 units or less than 2 properties have been eliminated from the ranking.

Some of the most notable locations in the overall ranking for the year include Boise City, ID; Spokane, WA; Tallahassee, FL; Cape Coral – Fort Myers, FL; Reno, NV; Rochester, NY; Worcester, MA; Provo – Orem, UT; Mobile, AL; Knoxville, TN; Asheville, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Olympia – Tumwater, WA; Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, CT; Fort Wayne, IN; Waco, TX; and Columbia, SC.

Meanwhile, Raleigh – Cary, NC; Salt lake City, UT; and Cleveland – Elyria, OH, will have rather modest increases in terms of new apartments before the end of the year.

Metro AreaApartment Supply
Apartment Supply
Change %
Change %
Top 50 Largest Metro?
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA**19,948-4%0.20%yes
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX17,132-2%2.10%yes
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO15,187150%1.30%yes
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA11,449-23%0.20%yes
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI10,71325%-0.10%yes
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ10,30255%2.00%yes
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL9,790-13%0.90%yes
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA9,547-13%1.60%yes
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV9,516-19%1.10%yes
Austin-Round Rock, TX8,8379%2.80%yes
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA8,614-34%1.80%yes
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX7,646-62%1.50%yes
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN6,684-3%1.90%yes
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA6,64711%0.60%yes
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC5,169-21%2.10%yes
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH5,004-24%0.60%yes
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA4,80432%1.30%yes
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA4,53322%0.40%yes
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (Delaware Valley)4,368-1%0.30%yes
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL4,176-17%1.90%yes
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD4,11714%0.30%yes
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA4,08646%0.60%yes
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL3,857-46%2.40%yes
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI3,520-31%1.20%yes
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX3,501-50%2.00%yes
Raleigh-Cary, NC3,3834%2.40%yes
Salt Lake City, UT3,3392%1.50%yes
Columbus, OH3,209-3%1.60%yes
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI2,62729%0.00%yes
Jacksonville, FL2,57651%2.00%yes
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN2,203-12%1.20%yes
St. Louis, MO-IL2,08820%0.00%yes
Charleston-North Charleston, SC1,789-20%1.90%no
Cleveland-Elyria, OH1,7816%-0.10%yes
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN1,66046%0.70%yes
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV1,597-42%2.30%yes
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA1,592143%1.30%yes
Kansas City, MO-KS1,569-63%1.10%yes
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA1,51519%1.30%yes
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC1,485-18%1.60%no
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA1,425-17%1.00%no
Pittsburgh, PA1,326-15%-0.30%yes
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI1,319-35%0.20%yes
Boise City, ID1,26094%2.90%no
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC1,215-33%1.30%no
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA1,20729%1.70%no
Tallahassee, FL1,173168%1.00%no
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI1,1571.00%no
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL1,14521%2.50%no
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1,130-58%1.80%no
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY1,124146%0.40%no
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN1,093-51%0.60%yes
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA1,0820.30%yes
Provo-Orem, UT1,048105%2.80%no
Madison, WI1,023-20%1.10%no
Corpus Christi, TX1,006-24%0.00%no
Richmond, VA1,001-47%1.00%yes
Reno, NV99479%1.80%no
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR9140.70%no
Rochester, NY91331%0.00%no
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (Hampton Roads)910-52%0.10%yes
Worcester, MA-CT871152%0.60%no
Baton Rouge, LA800-41%-0.20%no
Wilmington, NC794-2%2.20%no
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY755-17%0.20%yes
Asheville, NC730117%1.20%no
Stockton-Lodi, CA7161.60%no
Oklahoma City, OK714-61%0.80%yes
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL695-5%1.30%no
Knoxville, TN68410%1.10%no
Boulder, CO6420.40%no
New Orleans-Metairie, LA60285%0.40%yes
Fort Collins, CO600-25%1.70%no
Mobile, AL59957%-0.20%no
Chattanooga, TN-GA5916%0.80%no
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC5760.90%no
Colorado Springs, CO5701%1.90%no
Memphis, TN-MS-AR568-41%0.20%yes
Birmingham-Hoover, AL566-58%0.30%yes
Greensboro-High Point, NC556-23%0.60%no
Columbus, GA-AL5412%-0.90%no
Syracuse, NY532-17%-0.30%no
Gainesville, FL487-33%1.10%no
Olympia-Tumwater, WA47631%2.50%no
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA4560.40%no
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL4532.00%no
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT45036%0.10%no
Logan, UT-ID438-2%1.80%no
Fort Wayne, IN43321%0.80%no
Columbia, SC4184%0.90%no
Fresno, CA4051.00%no
Winston-Salem, NC4030.90%no
Lansing-East Lansing, MI400-23%0.70%no
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA3990.40%no
Waco, TX38410%1.50%no
Wichita, KS381-41%0.10%no
Ann Arbor, MI3530.80%no
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL349-74%2.20%no
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT339-74%0.00%yes
Savannah, GA318-18%1.00%no
New Haven-Milford, CT3060.10%no

*Based on verified market data for 2017 and projected values for 2018. Also, the blank cells represent an insufficient sample size or the fact that no units were delivered in 2017.
**The Bronx and Staten Island are not included in the New York metro data set.


RentCafe is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

To compile this report, RentCafe’s research team analyzed new apartment construction data across 136 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The study is exclusively based on apartment data related to buildings containing 50 or more units. New supply refers to 50+ unit properties which have a completion date projected for 2018.

Building and rent data was provided by our sister company, Yardi Matrix, a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors.

Data on population changes from 2016 to 2017 comes from the U.S. Census Bureau 5-Year Estimates.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RentCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

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Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.

Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and Realtor.com. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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