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Justin Fox

Big, Boxy Apartment Buildings Are Multiplying Faster Than Ever

Rather than end the era of these large developments, the pandemic has confirmed their dominance in housing construction.

Boom in boxes.

Boom in boxes.

Photographer: Alisha Jucevic/Bloomberg

Amid the materials shortages, price hikes and other craziness of the housing market last year, something remarkable happened. US builders completed more apartments in large multi-unit buildings than ever before.

Yes, these numbers only go back to 1972, but with other statistics indicating that 1972-1974 marked the all-time peak in overall US apartment construction, it seems safe to say that the 214,000 housing units completed in buildings of 50 units or more in 2021 has never been surpassed.