Top Multifamily Markets for Construction Activity

6 min read

The top 10 metros account for about 40 percent of all units underway.

The multifamily sector has been among the best-performing industries since the onset of the health crisis. Strong demand pushed development to surpass pre-pandemic levels, with 388,141 units completed across the country in 2021, up almost 13 percent compared to 2019.


READ ALSO: National Multifamily Report – March 2022


The list below details the most-active markets across the country for construction activity. The top 10 metros had 334,833 units under development as of March, accounting for a little over 40 percent of the national level. The top entries delivered 224,561 units combined in 2021, representing almost 60 percent of all the new multifamily inventory in the past year.

Rank Metro Units Under Construction Forecast Units Delivered 2022 Units Delivered 2021 Units Delivered 2020 Units Delivered 2019
1 Dallas 44,595 21,105 25,976 26,734 28,536
2 Austin 41,358 15,536 14,856 13,363 9,282
3 Phoenix 37,929 18,585 10,108 9,090 9,351
4 Washington, D.C. 36,570 12,214 13,703 12,823 12,290
5 Miami Metro 34,880 19,739 18,068 11,183 12,251
6 New York 32,281 11,775 3,351 7,602 11,722
7 Los Angeles 29,552 13,811 12,259 11,369 12,649
8 Atlanta 26,683 13,158 14,687 11,515 12,649
9 Seattle 25,688 12,304 10,814 8,346 11,011
10 Denver 25,297 11,782 9,512 14,558 13,282

10. Denver

View of Denver, Colorado
Denver. Image by Studio1One/iStockphoto.com

The first entry on our list had 25,297 units under construction as of March. Yardi Matrix forecasts 11,782 of those units will be completed by the end of the year. In 2021, developers completed only 9,512 units across the metro, considerably less compared to previous years. Despite construction difficulties, the 14,558 units delivered in 2020 topped completions from 2019, when 13,282 units came online.

A diverse economy helped Denver overcome pandemic-induced complications and attract new residents. According to 2020 U.S. Census data, the metro’s population expanded by 19.2 percent to 715,522 residents in the past decade.

9. Seattle

Aerial view of Seattle
Seattle. Image by Mark Hatfield/iStockphoto.com

The metro had 25,688 units underway, with 12,304 units forecast by Yardi Matrix to be completed by the end of the year. Multifamily development bounced back in 2021, with 10,814 units coming online across the metro, up from the 8,346 units completed in 2020. While the previous year showed progress, there is still more progress needed to reach pre-pandemic numbers, when developers added 11,011 units to the inventory.

Seattle’s recovery was slow but steady, as the metro’s most important employers—Microsoft and Amazon—announced plans to move forward with their respective projects in Redmond, Wash., and Bellevue, Wash. The metro’s population grew by 21.1 percent to 737,015 residents, U.S. Census data shows. The occupancy rate in stabilized assets reached 95.7 percent in February, up 140 basis points year-over-year.

8. Atlanta

Ariel view of Atlanta
Atlanta. Image by Jacob Boomsma/iStockphoto.com

Across the metro, there were 26,683 units under construction as of March and 13,158 units were forecast to be delivered by the end of 2022. Development activity bounced back in 2021, with 14,687 units added to the inventory. Construction restrictions slowed down deliveries, with only 11,515 units completed in 2020, down 9 percent from the 12,649 units delivered before the pandemic.

Atlanta’s reputation as a fintech hub fueled its expansion, with big names as Apple, Google, Airbnb and Microsoft announcing expansion plans. The metro had 498,715 residents in 2020, according to the latest U.S. Census data, up 18.7 percent from a decade before. This growth pushed demand for housing, as the occupancy rate grew 40 basis points year-over-year to 95.4 percent as of February.

7. Los Angeles

Ariel view of Los Angeles
Los Angeles. Image by Art Wager/iStockphoto.com

The only California market on the list added 12,259 units to its inventory in 2021. Developers responded to the need for housing, as deliveries in the previous year surpassed the completions recorded in 2020 (11,369 units) and 2019 (9,627 units). As of March, Los Angeles had 29,552 units under construction, out of which 13,811 units are forecast to be delivered by the end of the year.

While Los Angeles’ recovery is slightly behind other metros in the state, occupancy rate rose 160 basis point year-over-year to 96.7 percent as of February, 70 basis points above the national average. According to 2020 U.S. Census data, the metro had 3,898,747 residents, up 2.8 percent from the previous decade.

6. New York

New York. Image via Pixabay

The metro had 32,281 units underway as of March, with 11,775 units forecast to be delivered by the end of the year. As New York was one of the metros hit hardest by the pandemic, construction activity has slowed down since the onset of the health crisis. In 2021, developers completed only 3,351 units and in the previous year 7,602 units. Combined, they were below 2019 numbers, when 11,722 units were added to the inventory.

According to 2020 U.S. Census data, New York City grew its number of residents by 7.7 percent in a decade to 8,804,190. Occupancy rates in stabilized properties clocked in at 97.4 percent in February, for a 3 percent increase year-over-year.

5. Miami

Miami. Image by Cassanas/iStockphoto.com

Across the metro, developers were busy developing 34,880 units as of March, with 19,739 units expected by Yardi Matrix forecasting to be completed by the end of 2022. Construction activity in Miami experienced significant growth in 2021, with 18,068 units completed in 2021. This represented an almost 62 percent increase from the 11,183 units delivered in 2020 and also outpaced pre-pandemic numbers, as in 2019, 12,251 units were added to the inventory.

Over the past few years, Miami has earned the reputation of a growing tech and financial hub helped by important company relocations and expansions. Miami increased its population by 10.7 percent to 442,241 over the past decade. This expansion helped the metro lead the way in terms of occupancy, increasing 27 percent year-over-year to 97 percent as of February.

4. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Image by wingedwolf/iStockphoto.com

Developers were busy in March, with 36,570 units under construction across the metro. Of those, Yardi Matrix forecasts that 12,214 will be completed by year-end. Construction activity in Washington, D.C., maintained momentum in the past three years; 13,703 units were delivered in 2021, almost on par with the 12,823 units delivered in 2020 and the 12,290 units completed in 2019.

The U.S. capital had 689,545 residents in 2020, according to U.S. Census data, up 14.6 percent from the previous decade. Occupancy rate in stabilized assets was up 130 basis points up year-over-year as of February to 95.3 percent.

3. Phoenix

Phoenix. Image by Yunpeng Li/iStockphoto.com

The metro had 37,929 units underway, 18,585 of which are forecast to be delivered by the end of the year. Construction activity across the metro experienced a slight fluctuation, closing 2021 with 10,108 units added to the inventory, up 11 percent from the 9,090 units delivered in 2020 and up 8 percent from the 9,351 units completed in 2019.

Phoenix experienced strong in-migration, growing its population by 11.2 percent in a decade to 1,608,139, according to U.S. Census data. Even so, occupancy rate in the metro decreased 50 basis points year-over-year as of February to 95.8 percent.

2. Austin

Austin. Image by Jonathan Ross/iStockphoto.com

Our runner-up is the first Texas metro on the list. Developers were working on 41,358 units across the metro as of March, with 15,536 units forecast to be completed by the of the year. Construction activity had experienced consistent growth in the past three years, with 9,282 units added to the inventory in 2019, 13,363 units in 2020 and 14,856 units in 2021.

Austin attracted national attention because the high-profile tech company relocations to the metro, from Tesla to Oracle. The metro’s population increased by 21.4 percent since 2010, according to U.S. Census data. The occupancy rate expanded 200 basis points year-over-year to 95.8 percent as of February.

1. Dallas

Dallas skyline. Image courtesy of Unsplash

The metro topped out list of construction activity with 44,595 units under development as of March. Out of those, Yardi Matrix forecasts 21,105 will come online by the end of 2022. Dallas also led the country in terms of deliveries in 2021, even if developers faced some difficulties reaching pre-pandemic numbers, with 28,536 units completed in 2019, 26,734 units in 2020 and 25,976 units in 2021.

Dallas’ population marked an 8.9 percent expansion in a decade to 1,304,379 residents in 2020, according to U.S. Census data. Occupancy rate in stabilized properties rose 17.5 percent year-over-year as of February to 95.5 percent.

Yardi Matrix covers all multifamily properties of 50-plus units across 140 markets in the United States. This ranking reflects completions within that sample group.

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