The country needs at least 4.6 million new apartments by 2030
But getting there won't be easy. It is time to take action across the country, in ways that are tailored to the needs of each community. The apartment industry stands ready to work with urban, suburban and rural communities in every region to meet the housing demand of Americans across all income levels.
Policymakers at all levels of government must recognize that addressing local housing needs requires a partnership between government and the private sector. The federal government can ensure sufficient funding of housing programs, enact a pro-housing tax policy, and reform regulations that unnecessarily increase housing costs.
We Can Do This
State and local governments have a toolbox of approaches they can take to address the apartment shortage and help reduce the cost of housing. Working together, we can help them:
Adopt local public policies and programs that harness the power of the private sector to make housing affordability more feasible.
Collaborate with business and community leaders to champion apartments.
Leverage state-level authority to overcome obstacles to apartment construction.
Increase public-private partnerships to produce apartments that households can afford.
Read our Vision for 2030 on how public-private partnerships can help us solve the country's housing affordability challenge.download
The Stakes are High
Keeping up with the demand for millions of apartments will mean public-private partnerships at all levels of government. If we don't start today, our nation's housing affordability crisis will only worsen.
We Need to Build More
The country will need to build an average of 324,000 new apartment homes each year to keep up with demand. The industry averaged just 225,000 completions from 2011-2016.
number of new apartment households per year
number of apartments built per year
Barriers to Apartments Mean Higher Rents
When regulations or lack of available land make it harder to build apartments, costs go up for everyone. The Barriers to Apartment Construction Index shows the hardest and easiest cities to add the needed supply.
barriers to apartment construction index
% of households paying over 35% on rent
Income and Affordability
Housing affordability is a growing problem. Housing costs continue to clime while incomes haven't kept up.
Why Should I Care?
If this won’t happen until 2030, why do I need to worry now?
America is already facing an affordable housing crisis. Since 1985, the share of apartment households paying at least 30 percent of their income for housing costs (rent and utilities) has increased from 42 percent to now more than half (55 percent). More than one in four (29 percent) spend at least half their income on housing costs, a sign that their housing costs are a significant financial burden. If we don’t act now, affordability will only become a larger problem.
Most Americans don’t live in apartments, is this really a big deal?
39 million Americans call an apartment home. Today, demand for apartments is at unprecedented levels as the number of renters has reached an all-time high. Annual growth in renter households has exceeded 800,000 on average since 2010 - and almost as much as 1.2 million by some measures.. This trend is expected to not only continue, but rapidly increase over the next decade.
Why is apartment demand growing?
Three major demographic shifts are having the strongest impact on demand for rental housing: The rise of young adults as the largest demographic group in the U.S., the aging of the baby boomers, and immigration’s increasing contribution to population growth.
What can be done to build more?
Meeting demand will require both revamping how we build apartments and the courage for policymakers at the federal, state and local levels to implement inventive policy ideas, provide incentives and reduce impediments to building apartments to meet the demand across all income levels.
What was your methodology?
Our experts took a nationally-based model, using public and private data sources, to forecast a conservative estimate of key drivers of apartment demand, including population growth, household formation, and the homeownership rate. From that estimate, they developed a methodology for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 50 metropolitan areas (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau).
What’s stopping more apartments from being built?
It’s not easy to build apartments. It can take up to a decade to just break ground. Regulatory barriers to apartment construction have also increased significantly. Obstacles to development include outdated zoning laws, unnecessary land use restrictions, arbitrary permitting requirements, inflated parking requirements, environmental site assessments, discouraging housing construction and raising costs.
Source: Hoyt Advisory Services; NMHC/NAA; U.S. Census Bureau.; Axiometrics, a RealPage Company
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In communities across the country, apartments work -- helping people live in a home that’s right for them.