Adaptive Reuse Apartments Gaining Momentum in America’s Largest Cities

According to, in the last two years apartment conversions have jumped by 25%, compared to the two years prior. Putting it in numerical terms, this increasingly popular real estate niche has brought a total of 28,000 new rentals in 2020–21, which is well above the pre-pandemic years of 2018–19, when 22,300 were brought back to life through adaptive reuse. According to Yardi Matrix, amid an ever-growing need for housing, adaptive reuse picked up speed in America’s largest cities.

To fully understand how much adaptive reuse had grown in recent years, Rentcafe compared the latest figures to the rate growth in traditional new apartment construction. Their analysis shows that adaptive reuse apartment was growing faster than new apartment construction—25% versus 10%, respectively—within the same time frame.

Office-to-apartment conversions increased even faster, a 43% jump during 2020–21 compared to 2018–19, from 7,762 to 11,090 apartments created from former offices. The total conversions in 2020–21 represent an all-time high. The repurposing of office buildings through adaptive reuse took an extraordinary leap not just in the last two years, but over the last decade as a whole—a mere 2,700 apartments were brought to life in 2010–11. Former offices make up 40% of all adaptive-reuse conversions to rentals between 2020–21, the highest share.

The promising future of adaptive reuse is reflected in the impressive number of projects expected in the coming years—serving as further confirmation of its rising popularity. To that end, Yardi Matrix data shows a total 77,100 future adaptive reuse apartments in various stages of conversion. Of these, some are already undergoing conversion and set to be completed in 2022 and later, while other projects are awaiting approval or are in the planning stages.

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