Apartment construction on rise to meet demand


Because the housing crisis has brought a decline in homeownership, there has been a steady increase in people moving into apartments and other rental properties.

Today, about one-third of Americans rent their homes, even more in some large cities.


Half of New Yorkers rent their dwellings, as well as about 40 percent of the people in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Dallas, Houston and Austin, according to new figures by the National Multi-Housing Council.

Nearly half of American renters live in large complexes, one-third in single-family homes, one-fifth in two-to-four-unit buildings and another 3 percent in mobile homes.

The current nationwide vacancy rate for rental housing nationwide stands at 8.7 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the lowest level since 2002.

Multi-family construction fell to a low of 75,000 units a year in 2009. But construction levels have grown by nearly 50 percent each year since then, with 306,000 units added during the past year.  The National Association of Homebuilders projects construction to surpass 335,000 total units this year.

Of the 2.25 million properties currently on the market nationwide, most of them are valued at less than $500,000. Only 18 percent of the properties are valued at more than $5 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

The priciest rentals in the country?  Not surprisingly, most are in California and the New York City area.

The average price for a two-bedroom apartment is:

  1. San Francisco, Calif.                    $1,905
  2. Stamford/Norwalk, Conn.            $1,769
  3. Honolulu, Hi.                                $1,767
  4. Nassau/Suffolk, N.Y.                    $1,682
  5. Orange County, Calif.                  $1,652
  6. San Jose, Calif.                            $1,623
  7. Westchester, N.Y.                        $1,580
  8. Bergen/Passaic, N.J.                    $1,515
  9. Danbury, Conn.                            $1,512
  10. Washington, D.C.                         $1,506

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, states with the least expensive rents by state average for a two-bedroom apartment are:

  1. Arkansas               $593
  2. West Virginia         $598
  3. South Dakota        $599
  4. Kentucky               $616
  5. Mississippi             $622
  6. Iowa                     $637
  7. North Dakota       $639
  8. Wyoming               $646
  9. Oklahoma              $647
  10. Alabama                $650