The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) is reporting a significant shift in multifamily construction to the suburbs/exurbs in Q2 of 2020. This is similar to the HBGI findings recently reported on single-family construction. In both cases the catalyst appears to be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and home buyers and renters desire to leave their higher density neighborhoods for the lower population and COVID-19 cases. These geographic changes will ultimately generate market share gains for smaller multifamily structures, including low-rise buildings. In Q2 of 2020, the multifamily HBGI regional geography posting the highest year-over-year gain (on a
four-quarter moving-average basis) was the exurbs at 27%, with suburbs of small metro areas 26%, rural markets 19%, small towns 9%, and core counties of small metro areas trailing at a 8%rate. Moreover, exurbs of large metro areas were the only region to record an increasing construction growth rate when moving from the first quarter to the second (increasing from 13% to 27%).
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Multifamily Construction Gains for Lower-Density Markets