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By: Alex Carrick on February 26th, 2018

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In America’s Major New Homes Markets, an Intriguing Contest is Underway

Economic News

A contest is underway in America’s new homes markets to see whether single-family construction will continue to prevail or whether multi-family units will gain the upper hand.

2018-02-26-US-Housing-Starts-Graphic

For a variety of reasons, it has long been the case that single-family groundbreakings have been dominant on the U.S. homebuilding scene. One key factor has been the deductibility of mortgage interest payments in the calculation of personal income taxes. This has encouraged the purchase of more expensive (i.e., single-family) homes.

Another explanation lies in the fact ‘single-family’ housing is defined more broadly in the U.S. than in some other countries. The Census Bureau includes townhouses in ‘singles’ provided each unit has its own heating/cooling system. Only if there is a central HVAC system for several row homes is a complex considered to be a multi-unit structure. (By way of contrast, ‘singles’ are single-detached units in Canada and townhomes are categorized to ‘multi-unit’ structures.)

Placing a maximum value on the mortgage amount eligible for interest rate deductibility, as is being written into America’s new tax regime, will take away some of the incentive to buy ‘singles’. But it’s not likely to have an inordinately harmful impact. Purchasers of high-end properties are more likely to have the financial resources to carry through with their dream-home plans than are first-time home buyers.

In many urban settings, there has been a surge in demand for rental housing, initially brought on by the Great Recession, but also prevailing long afterwards. Many families lost their bungalows in the suburbs due to foreclosures and had to seek shelter elsewhere. Those alternative living quarters more often than not turned out to be rentals.

There have also been societal shifts that have worked in favor of multi-family living. Many empty-nesters, opting to downsize and free themselves from yard work, have embraced downtown condo living. And young adults (i.e., millennials) entering the work force thrive on the fast paced and all-day stimulation that bubbles up from city cores.

But if rents become prohibitive and if newly-minted millennial families wish to get back to their roots, then the suburbs will soon be staging a comeback.  

Whichever way the ‘singles’ versus ‘multiples’ pendulum swings, it will have tremendous implications for construction activity.

To the degree that there is a resurgence in the suburbs, it will mean the need for new work on streets and roads, sewers and watermains, primary and elementary schools, police stations and fire halls and local libraries, plus regional and strip malls, as well as single-family housing.

But if cores continue to become more vital hubs, there will be ongoing strength in mixed-use developments and additional building of concert halls and sports stadiums, as well as a great deal of renovation work – i.e., to turn abandoned retail and industrial space into art galleries, etc.

The economy will be affected in other significant ways as well. For example, corporations studying locations for investment must ponder where they will find their biggest pools of the best and brightest young talent.

This article will employ graphs to look at the history of residential permits (in units) in the nation’s 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with the highest population counts. The Census Bureau does not publish housing starts for MSAs. Therefore, the Census Bureau’s residential building permit numbers are widely accepted as the next best thing. In the esoteric language of economists, permits serve as a ‘proxy’ for starts.

In this article, the words ‘permits’, ‘starts’ and ‘groundbreakings’ will be used interchangeably.

For each MSA, the three graphs setting out ‘totals’, ‘singles’ and ‘multiples’ are interesting on their own. But it is the fourth chart in each instance showing singles and multiples as shares-of-total that is the most attention-worthy.

While the weightings being given to multiples versus singles in most cities can be tied to demographic and economic influences, there should also be acknowledgement that land availability and local ordinances concerning story heights may play equally important roles. For example, until not so long ago, there was an understanding in Philadelphia that no new buildings were to overshadow the statue of William Pitt standing at the summit of City Hall.

The following 20-city coverage is alphabetical. As a point of interest, because it is the case in every year that the percentage share of multiples is always 100% minus the percentage share of singles, it will be seen that the ‘share’ curves are mirror images of one another.

‘Ranking’ tables appear near the end of this article.

Atlanta

In 2017, Atlanta was 3rd among the nation’s 20 most populous cities for level of single-family starts, 24,800 units. It was 4th for level of total starts, 32,900 units. But with respect to 2017-versus-2016 percent change, Atlanta was tied with St. Louis for 19th position (i.e., worst), at -8.9%. It was also 20th, all on its own, for year-over-year percent change in multiples, at -38.6%. From Atlanta’s ‘shares’ chart, singles have stayed dominant over multiples to about the same degree over the past 18 years.

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell Residential Building Permits

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Boston

Last year, Boston was 3rd among the 20 MSAs for 2017-over-2016 percent change in multiple-unit starts, +26.0%, and it was 4th for total-unit starts, +13.8%. But it was 20th (i.e., worst) for percent change in single-family starts, -3.8%. The percent share of multiples in Boston’s total starts caught up with singles in 2003 and approximate parity continued through 2012. The year 2012, however, became especially significant as it marked a crossover point. Since then, multiples have been dominant relative to singles.  

Boston-Cambridge-Newton Residential Building Permits

Boston-Cambridge-Newton Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Chicago

Chicago was 5th among the 20 urban centers for its level of multiple-unit starts in 2017, at 13,600 units. It was also 5th for groundbreakings on structures with five units or more each, 362. Multiples as a share-of-total caught up with singles in the Windy City in 2008, but then fell back again for the next five years. In 2015, however, the share of multiples finally climbed above the share of singles and the gap has grown wider over the past couple of years.

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin Residential Building Permits

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin Residential Building Permits

Data source: Statistics Canada - Cansim Table: 027-0009.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Dallas-Ft. Worth

In 2017, Dallas-Ft. Worth ranked 1st among all MSAs in the U.S. for its level of total starts, 61,700 units. The overall strength was thanks to 2nd place showings in both the single-family and multi-family markets, 34,200 units and 27,500 units respectively. Dallas-Ft. Worth was also 2nd behind only New York for groundbreakings related to structures of five or more units each last year. Multiple-unit starts as a share-of-total in Dallas-Ft. Worth have been falling only a little under singles as a share-of-total since 2011.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Residential Building Permits

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Denver

Denver in 2017 stood mainly in the middle of the pack for its levels of starts and its year-over-year percentage changes in starts. But that understates how well Denver homebuilding has been doing. From the graphs, it is apparent that the city has been showing robust gains in total, single-family and multi-family starts since 2010. Moreover, since 2012, multi-unit starts in the city have been giving singles a good run for their money with respect to share-of-total.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Residential Building Permits

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Detroit

Last year, Detroit was 19th out of 20 for level of total starts, only 10,000 units, and again 19th out of 20 for level of multiple-unit starts, only 3,200. The city did shine, however, with respect to 2017-over-2016 percentage changes. It was 2nd for both total starts, +33.3%, and multi-unit starts, +77.8%. Over the years since 2000, there has been little reduction in the gap between the larger share of total starts claimed by singles (80% easing down to 70%) and the smaller share taken by multiples (20% creeping up to 30%). Note that in 2009, the number of multi-unit starts in Detroit was negligible. The city had a ‘hard fall’ brought on by the recession and municipal bankruptcy.

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Residential Building Permits

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Houston

In 2017, Houston ranked number one for level of single-family starts, 36,600 units, among America’s 20 most populous MSA; and it ranked number three for level of total starts, 42,700 units. The year-over-year percent change in single-family permits, however, was a rather lackluster +3.4%. It was a false assumption that rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey would result in a more frenzied pace. Perhaps the major impetus from such work has been delayed until 2018. Multi-family starts in Houston have been sliding badly since 2014 and multis as a share-of-total have not made any significant inroads vis-à-vis singles. In fact, over the past three years, the gap has been widening.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Residential Building Permits

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Los Angeles

In 2017, with respect to the 20 urban areas in the U.S. with the highest population counts, the City of Angels was 5th for number of total residential permits, 31,200 units; 3rd for number of multi-family residential permits, 20,600 units; and 3rd for groundbreakings of structures with five units or more each, 527. Last year, Los Angeles was one of only three cities where there were more than 500 structures initiated of 5-plus units. The other two were Dallas-Ft. Worth, at 570, and New York, at a mind-blowing 1,174. In L.A., multiples as a share-of-total have exceeded singles since way back in 2006, although there was one year of almost parity (50.4% for multiples to 49.6% for singles) in 2009.

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Residential Building Permits

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Miami

Concerning levels of ‘total’, ‘single-family’ and ‘multi-family’ starts in 2017, Miami traveled in the mid-range relative to the other 19 most populous urban centers in the U.S. With respect to 2017-over-2016 percent change, Miami was one of only three cities with a decline in single-family starts, -1.5%. The other two were San Francisco and Boston, -2.0% and -3.8% respectively. After an ‘epic battle’ lasting for ten years, from 2002 through 2011, multiples finally prevailed convincingly over singles as a share-of-total in 2012 and have not looked back.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Residential Building Permits

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

In 2017, the twin-cities in Minnesota performed okay with respect to levels of starts and year-on-year percent changes. Minneapolis-St. Paul stayed at a pleasant room temperature, requiring neither a notching up of the thermostat nor a throwing open of all windows. Multis as a share-of-total rose to equal singles in 2012, but then pulled back to maintain a 40% to 60% relationship over the past five years. It’s interesting that in 2017 there were only 69 structures of five units or more each begun in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The only other big-population MSA with less than 100 structures started of 5-plus units last year was St. Louis, at 78.

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Residential Building Permits

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

New York

In 2017, MSA New York was 1st in multi-family groundbreakings, 39,400 units, and 2nd in total starts, 49,900 units. But where it really stood out was in project initiations of structures with 5 units or more each. The Big Apple’s 1,174 such buildings in 2017 was more than double what second-place finisher Dallas-Ft. Worth achieved, 570. N.Y. was 3rd for 2017-over-2016 percent change in total starts, +17.4%, and 4th for year-over-year percent change in multi-unit starts, +21.2%. The crossover year for multis first exceeding singles as a share-of-total occurred long ago, in 2003. The disparity between multis and singles as a percent-of-total has become vast. Nearly 80% of all residential starts in New York are now of the multi-unit variety. The only other major American city in the same ballpark is San Francisco, at 72%.

New York-Newark-Jersey City Residential Building Permits

New York-Newark-Jersey City Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Philadelphia

The only category where Philadelphia appeared in the Top 5 among the biggest 20 U.S. cities (by population) in 2017 was year-over-year starts on structures of five units or more each. Philly placed 2nd with an upwards burst of +40.0%. Just the same, it’s interesting to observe from the ‘shares’ graph how gradually but inexorably ‘multiples’ chased and finally caught up with ‘singles’ from 2000 to 2014-15. Then it appears the effort tired them out and they eased back a bit in 2016 and 2017.

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Residential Building Permits

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Phoenix

In 2017, Phoenix ranked 4th among the 20 cities for its level of single-family permits, 20,600 units. From the ‘shares’ graph, it’s clear the city had only one out-of-character year, in 2007, when the proportion-of-total taken by multiples jumped up to 64.8% versus 35.2% for singles. In every other annual period, with 2014 being almost an exception, it has been singles asserting their pride-of-place over multiples. In 2009, singles captured an astonishing 97% of the city’s total starts. But it must be remembered that the Phoenix housing market was one of the worst hit by the sub-prime mortgage crisis that brought on the Great Recession in 2008-09.

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Residential Building Permits

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Riverside

Last year, Riverside was number one among the 20 cities for year-over-year percent change in total starts, +40.0%, and number two for single-family starts, +27.8%. The fact that it was also number one for 2017-over-2016 multi-family starts, at +85.7%, was partly due to the nature of the mathematical calculation. The 2016 level of multi-family starts used as the denominator was a low 2,100 units. Thus, a modest gain of 1,800 units yielded an outsized percentage increase. 

Riverside homebuilding is still all about single-family construction. Singles as a percentage-of-total have long hovered around 80%, with multiples sometimes climbing above 20%. From the ‘shares’ graph, there may be a slight narrowing of the gap, but one really has to strain to see it. (Prior to 2013, there’s no published data from the Census Bureau for the MSA now called Riverside.)

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Residential Building Permits

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

San Diego

Among the 20 cities, San Diego was 18th for level of total starts in 2017, 10,400 units, and it was 20th (i.e., worst) for number of single-family starts, 4,100 units. With respect to 2017-over-2016 percent changes in permits, the city’s -25.0% performance in multiples gave it a 20-city placing of 17th. The ‘shares’ graph shows that San Diego, over the past seven years, has embraced the ‘modern’ trend of multiples playing a bigger role in total starts than singles. 2011 was the crossover year. In 2017, the gap diminished but remained wide, 60% for multiples to 40% for singles.

San Diego-Carlsbad Residential Building Permits

San Diego-Carlsbad Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

San Francisco

Among the 20 MSAs with the largest populations in the U.S., San Francisco was 5th for year-over-year percent change in total residential starts in 2017, +13.3%. Further with respect to 2017-over-2016 percent changes, the City by the Bay was also 5th for multiple-unit starts, +20.8%, and it was 4th for groundbreakings on structures of five units or more each, +20.3%. But in a jarring anomaly, it was 19th for annual percent change in single-family starts, -2.0%. The crossover year in which multi-unit starts gained ascendancy over single-family starts as a share-of-total occurred for San Francisco in 2010. During the past three years, the discrepancy has grown bigger. San Francisco’s massive 72%-of-total for multiples in 2017 was second only to New York’s 79%.

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Residential Building Permits

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Seattle

In 2017, among the 20 cities in the U.S. with the largest populations, Seattle was 4th for number of multiple-unit starts, 17,500. It was also 4th for the green-lighting of structures consisting of five units or more each, 395. With respect to 2017-over-2016 percent changes, Seattle was 5th for number of structures of 5-plus units, +16.5%. Since 2009, multi-family starts in Seattle have done almost nothing but soar. They did pause to catch their breath in 2016, registering a year-over-year pull-back of -1.8%. Nevertheless, their average annual increase over the past eight years, from 2010 to 2017, has been an astonishing +31%. The ‘shares’ graph for Seattle establishes that 2012 was the crossover year when multis relegated singles to second-rung status.

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Residential Building Permits

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

St. Louis

Relative to the other cities being reviewed in this article, the statistics for St. Louis are stark. In 2017, the city was 20th (i.e., worst) for level of multiple-unit starts, 1,700; again 20th (i.e., last) for total starts, only 7,200; and 19th for number of structures of five units or more each, 78. Only in Minneapolis-St. Paul were fewer structures of five-plus units initiated, 69. With respect to 2017-over-2016 permits, St. Louis was 19th for percent change of multiples, -34.6%, and tied with Atlanta in 19th spot for percent change of total starts, -8.9%. The ‘shares’ graph suggests there is a correlation between the dismal performance of the St. Louis homebuilding market and the failure of multi-unit starts to make much progress relative to single-family starts. In vibrant urban economies, multi-unit starts often find fullest expression in mixed-use developments. In St. Louis, such an evolution has been missing.

St. Louis Residential Building Permits

St. Louis Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Tampa

In 2017, Tampa’s most noteworthy achievement was to place 4th for 2017-over-2016 percent change of single-family starts, +18.7%. With respect to Tampa’s ‘shares’ graph, the proportion of multiples in the total rose to almost match singles in 2008, but the curves soon diverged again afterwards. In the past two years, multiples as a share-of-total have fallen off further, allowing singles to stake a greater claim. The proportions last year were 69% for singles and 31% for multiples.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Residential Building Permits

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. provides the perfect example of how multi-family residential starts, as a share of total, have been pursuing and tagging singles over an extended period. In 2000, multiples claimed barely more than 20% of the total, with singles at just under 80%. The lines representing multiples and singles in the ‘share’ graph grew closer from 2000 to 2007, then separated again until suddenly in 2011 there was convergence (i.e., 50% each). Since 2011, there has been near parity of unit-starts between multiples and singles, with no clear winner in the ‘tug of war’. In 2017, among the nation’s 20 most populous cities, Washington was 5th for level of single-family starts, 14,000 units. But it was 19th for the percent change in start-ups on projects of five units or more each, -29.0%. A significant volume of multi-unit construction does proceed in Washington, but it’s more likely to take the form of low-rise structures as opposed to towering apartment or condo buildings.

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Residential Building Permits

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 1: Total Residential Permits

2017 Level 
Rank  MSA (Units 000s)
1 Dallas-Ft. Worth 61.7
2 New York 49.9
3 Houston 42.7
4 Atlanta 32.9
5 Los Angeles 31.2
6 Phoenix 29.7
7 Seattle 27.4
8 Washington D.C. 26.4
9 Denver 22.5
10 Chicago 21.9
11 Miami 19.3
12 Tampa 18.3
13 San Francisco 17.0
14 Boston 14.8
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 14.7
16 Riverside 14.0
17 Philadelphia 13.3
18 San Diego 10.4
19 Detroit 10.0
20 St. Louis 7.2

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 2: Single-family Residential Permits

2017 Level 
Rank  MSA (Units 000s)
1 Houston 36.6
2 Dallas-Ft. Worth 34.2
3 Atlanta 24.8
4 Phoenix 20.6
5 Washington D.C. 14.0
6 Tampa 12.7
7 Denver 10.9
8 Los Angeles 10.6
9 New York 10.5
10 Riverside 10.1
11 Seattle 9.9
12 Minneapolis-St. Paul 8.7
13 Chicago 8.3
14 Philadelphia 7.3
15 Detroit 6.8
16 Miami 6.6
17 St. Louis 5.5
18 Boston 5.1
19 San Francisco 4.8
20 San Diego 4.1

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 3: Multi-family Residential Permits

2017 Level 
Rank  MSA (Units 000s)
1 New York 39.4
2 Dallas-Ft. Worth 27.5
3 Los Angeles 20.6
4 Seattle 17.5
5 Chicago 13.6
6 Miami 12.7
7 Washington D.C. 12.4
8 San Francisco 12.2
9 Denver 11.6
10 Boston 9.7
11 Phoenix 9.1
12 Atlanta 8.1
13 San Diego 6.3
14 Houston 6.1
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 6.0
15 Philadelphia 6.0
17 Tampa 5.6
18 Riverside 3.9
19 Detroit 3.2
20 St. Louis 1.7

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 4: Structures of 5 Units or More Each

2017 Level 
Rank  MSA (Units 000s)
1 New York   1,174
2 Dallas-Ft. Worth     570
3 Los Angeles     527
4 Seattle     395
5 Chicago     362
6 Philadelphia     329
7 Boston     304
8 Phoenix     287
9 San Francisco     279
10 Miami     271
11 San Diego     210
12 Atlanta     186
13 Denver     185
14 Riverside     168
15 Detroit     163
16 Washington D.C.     154
17 Houston     148
18 Tampa     127
19 St. Louis       78
20 Minneapolis-St. Paul       69

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 5: Total Residential Permits

2017/2016
Rank  MSA % Change
1 Riverside 40.0%
2 Detroit 33.3%
3 New York 17.4%
4 Boston 13.8%
5 San Francisco 13.3%
6 Chicago 12.3%
7 Dallas-Ft. Worth 11.0%
8 Philadelphia 9.9%
9 Seattle 7.5%
10 Tampa 6.4%
11 Washington D.C. 6.0%
12 Denver 5.6%
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul 4.3%
14 Phoenix 4.2%
15 Miami 3.2%
16 Los Angeles -2.5%
17 San Diego -2.8%
18 Houston -4.3%
19 Atlanta -8.9%
19 St. Louis -8.9%

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 6: Single-family Residential Permits

2017/2016
Rank  MSA % Change
1 San Diego 78.3%
2 Riverside 27.8%
3 Detroit 19.3%
4 Tampa 18.7%
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 14.8%
6 Los Angeles 14.0%
7 Minneapolis-St. Paul 11.5%
8 Phoenix 10.8%
9 Atlanta 8.3%
10 Washington D.C. 7.7%
11 Philadelphia 7.4%
12 Denver 6.9%
13 Seattle 5.3%
14 New York 5.0%
15 St. Louis 3.8%
16 Houston 3.4%
17 Chicago 2.5%
18 Miami -1.5%
19 San Francisco -2.0%
20 Boston -3.8%

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 7: Multi-family Residential Permits

2017/2016
Rank  MSA % Change
1 Riverside 85.7%
2 Detroit 77.8%
3 Boston 26.0%
4 New York 21.2%
5 San Francisco 20.8%
6 Chicago 19.3%
7 Philadelphia 13.2%
8 Seattle 8.7%
9 Dallas-Ft. Worth 6.6%
10 Miami 5.8%
11 Denver 4.5%
12 Washington D.C. 4.2%
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul -4.8%
14 Phoenix -8.1%
15 Los Angeles -9.3%
16 Tampa -13.8%
17 San Diego -25.0%
18 Houston -33.7%
19 St. Louis -34.6%
20 Atlanta -38.6%

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Table 8: Structures of 5 Units or More Each

2017/2016
Rank  MSA % Change
1 Detroit 56.7%
2 Philadelphia 40.0%
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth 23.1%
4 San Francisco 20.3%
5 Seattle 16.5%
6 Riverside 13.5%
7 Chicago 11.4%
8 New York 10.2%
9 Boston 9.4%
10 Phoenix 8.7%
11 Los Angeles -1.1%
12 St. Louis -6.0%
13 Atlanta -7.9%
14 Tampa -13.0%
15 Miami -13.4%
16 San Diego -14.6%
17 Denver -25.4%
18 Minneapolis-St. Paul -25.8%
19 Washington D.C. -29.0%
20 Houston -43.5%

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Below are similar four graphs for five other U.S. cities – Austin, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Nashville and San Antonio.

Austin-San Marcos Residential Building Permits

Austin-San Marcos Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Residential Building Permits

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise Residential Building Permits

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise Residential Building Permits

Data source: Statistics Canada - Cansim Table: 027-0009.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Residential Building Permits

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

San Antonio-New Braunfels Residential Building Permits

San Antonio-New Braunfels Residential Building Permits

Data source: Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Also appearing at ConstructConnect’s website is a comparable analysis for the six largest housing markets in Canada. The link is:
The Striking Shift Into Multiples Versus Singles in Canada’s Housing Market.