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Justin Fox

Apartment Builders Didn’t Get the Housing Slump Memo

Multifamily units make up the majority of a record number of homes under construction and are showing few signs of a slowdown.

It takes longer to construct apartment buildings. 

It takes longer to construct apartment buildings. 

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The housing market is in tough spot, with 30-year mortgage rates averaging more than 7%, housing starts and prices falling, and those in the know predicting worse times ahead. So why were more than 1.7 million housing units under construction in the US in September, a new all-time high?

Part of the answer is that the housing market is in a tough spot, and builders are slowing the pace of construction because there’s not much point in rushing. But as should be apparent from the above chart, it’s construction of apartments, not single-family houses, that is breaking records and, well, apartments are different.